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The volumes in this series contain numerous illus- 
trations of the most famous buildings in the style of 
which they treat, with notes on the same, which, 
together with a few simply-worded introductory essays, 
should make them popular with the British tourist at 
home and abroad, and with the amateur enthusiast who 
is ready to take a delight in all the beautiful works of 

A. & C. BLACK, LTD., 4, 5 & 6 SOHO SO_7J LONDON, W.I 

AMERICA . . . 
CANADA ..... 














A. & C. BLACK, LTD. 

4, 5 &f 6 SOHO SQUARE, LONDON, W.i 



Edition published in October, 


THIS series of books was designed for the amateur, with the 
object of supplying in the simplest language that general 
information demanded by innate appreciation. The need for 
some such series of handbooks has been shown by the 
favourable reception accorded by critics and the public to the 
five volumes that have appeared, the gratifying demand for 
which has already promoted two of them to a second edition. 

I have always felt a keen joy in the art of architecture, and in 
my opinion the architect is an artist whose work is as full of 
expression as is that of the most skilled decorator who serves 
him. In proportion, perspective, line and mass, he visualizes 
universal truths, and seals them so clearly with the stamp of a 
strong individuality that they stimulate imagination and awaken 
the emotions. As a child, my favourite playground was the 
Close in my native city Nature's unrivalled setting, wherein 
the dazzling beauty of an English cathedral is enhanced by the 
fields, and trees, and grassy swards which surround it, and, 
maybe, by the river which skirts them on this side or that. 
Why I liked to look at the cathedral I neither knew nor cared ; 
it just pleased me, and children ask neither more nor less of 
life. Under the great vaulted roof 1 was equally happy and 
equally indifferent to logic, until I first began to feel that desire 
to grow up which is the actual starting-point of education. 
Hitherto I had been content to listen to the endless store of 
fairy-tales which the building was ever ready to relate, but now I 
became more exacting. 

* Tell me how you came to be here/ I said to the arches, walls, 
and columns ; * tell me how you live ; tell me something real' 


And they answered that there were certain things that I must 
learn for myself if I wanted to hold converse with them in sub- 
stance as well as in shadow. 

Here my trouble began. No one understood the pet names 
I had given to every little nook and corner of my cathedral, 
although to my mind they so exactly described what they meant 
to me, as nicknames always do to the individual who bestows 
them. But in order to avoid confusion, this must mean this, by 
general consent, and that must mean that ; and so I had to learn 
the conventional names for the different parts of the building 
before I could speak to other people about them and ask 
questions. Frequently I received answers to questions that I 
did not ask, whilst the queries which I actually meant to put 
forward were ignored ; this was due partly to my amateurish 
way of propounding my difficulties, and partly to the professional 
ability of those whose aid I sought. I plodded through various 
ponderous volumes on architecture, and, although I know now 
how excellent many of them were in their own way, I wished 
then that I could find some one who would tell me very simply 
in a few pages what I wanted to know. Just what I wanted then 
I have endeavoured, so far as Norman architecture is concerned, 
to set down in the following pages that and nothing more ; for 
I feel that there must be many people with a similar desire who 
have not the time to pick out the essential information from amongst 
the mass of technicalities in which it is generally embedded. 

In whatever direction my readers may wish to pursue the 
study of architecture beyond where the volumes in this series lead 
them, they will find much valuable and reliable literature to 
assist them, and many noble buildings typical of each and every 
style. But I hope my humble efforts may do something more 
than drive them to books, or even to buildings which tell of the 
glory of bygone days ; I hope they may be led to demand for 
themselves buildings which shall declare to future generations all 
that is best in the religious, civic, artistic, and domestic life of the 
present day. 



The publication of so many popular books on old furniture, 
pottery, and pictures, has led to a marked change for the better 
within the doors of many of the villas in our monotonous streets, 
or, maybe, a sympathetic appreciation of the instinctive need for 
such changes has given birth to these books, which thus, by 
reflex action, foster the artistic instinct which is too often 
considered to be the monopoly of a chosen few. Whatever be 
the relationship between supply and demand in connection with 
our modern Renaissance, why should not architecture come in 
for a share of popular interest which may lead to a practical 
revulsion of feeling against the ugly sameness of the villas 
themselves? Why should not a building, no less than the 
people and things within it, contribute to the magic charm of 
home ? Another Utopia ? Well, the ruins of every one's 
Utopia are the foundations of universal progress. 

And so, my readers, I would ask you never to still that first 
throb of pleasure which you feel when you are face to face with 
a noble building. Pursue it till each one of you is driven to 
demand for yourself an ideal habitation, every stick and stone of 
which you can enjoy, and remember that the elements of enjoy- 
ment are threefold innate appreciation, knowledge, and enthu- 
siasm. If you find anything whatsoever in this book which 
stimulates your instinctive delight in architecture, and helps you 
to a fuller appreciation of its beauties, I am sure you will forgive 
any sins of omission and commission. We shall be friends because 
we share a common interest in the buildings which are worthy of 
our affection. 



FREEMAN : ' History of the Norman Conquest.' 

BLOXAM : ' Gothic Architecture.' 

PARKER : Introduction to ' Gothic Architecture. 1 

My thanks are due also to Rusldn, and to many other 
authors my teachers in bygone days whose names I have 
forgotten. Especially am I indebted to the Norman crafts- 
men themselves. I have spent many happy hours amongst 
the buildings herein referred to, but although, in many 
instances, history has not recorded the names of their builders, 
the fame of their creators can never die whilst the buildings 
erected by them endure. 



PREFACE -.... . 
















BERNAY ABBEY - - - - - - 45 





ST. NICHOLAS, CAEN - - - - - - ~ 55 






WALTHAM ABBEY - - - - - - 6"J 

NORWICH CASTLE - - - - - - -69 


ST. ALBANS CATHEDRAL - - - - - - "73 





ELY CATHEDRAL- - ..... 83 






List of Illustrations 



MALMESBURY ABBEY - - - - - - "95 


SOUTHWELL CATHEDRAL - - - - - - -99 




IFFLEY CHURCH- - - - - - -109 


BRISTOL CATHEDRAL - - - - - -113 

ST. CROSS, WINCHESTER - - - - - -115 

X0URHAM CATHEDRAL - - - - - - -117 

THE TEMPLE CHURCH - - - s - - -119 

GLASTONBURY ABBEY - -. - - - -121 



CAPPELLA PALATINA - - - - - - 12J 


CHURCH OF LA MARTORANA - - - . . -13! 

LA 2ISA PALACE- - - - - - ~ J 33 

S. SPIRITO - - - - . . ~ J 35 

^ MONREALE CATHEDRAL - - - . . . " * 37 





Triangular*headed Semicircular 

Segmental Stilted 

Horse shoe Horse shoe stilted 

ARCHES (continued) 

Square Headed Obtusely pointed 

trefoil (Transitional style) 

(Late style) 






CASTLE (cotttinued) 

Round keep 

-1? JMUmllllll 'A : WHUil/lfcrr-^ Jilt ^ T' 







(Arabo -Norman style) 



Wide Jointed 

* -ir-A. t^v 

Rubble Fine Jointed 

Herringbone Ashlar 

Zig-Zag or Chevron Saw Tooth 

Roll Billet 

Nail head 


Beak head 




Base "f 





Barrel or Waggon - headed 

Groined without ribs 

Groined with square ribs 

VAULTS (continued) 

Groined with moulded ribs 





WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, 1066 ! In our pleasure-trip to the 
Great Norman Buildings we shall not reach this historically 
familiar landmark till we have travelled some little distance along 
the architectural highway, but as the briefest summary of the 
Norman Conquest of England, 'William the Conqueror, 1066,' 
will serve as a signpost to the starting-point of our expedition. 
If we carry our thoughts back to the days when we specialized 
in the Norman Period for examination reasons, we shall remember 
that amongst the results of the Conquest which we made a 
particular point of learning by heart, one heading ran as follows : 
* The Introduction of a New Style of Building.' 

The statement is vague and not quite true, but, generally 
speaking, this is the familiar form of our first introduction to 
Norman architecture, and we are not encouraged to pursue the 
acquaintanceship. When, some years after such an introduction, 
I discovered that a favourite part of my favourite haunt, the old 
cathedral in my native city, and the old castle on the hill that I 
daily climbed on my way to school, were built in that ' new 
style,' I sadly realized that I had more than once lost marks 
through not having been taught to connect familiar names with 
familiar objects. However, I comforted myself with the reflection 
that my ignorance had not spoilt my childish enjoyment of 

I I 

Norman Architecture 

these beautiful buildings. Wishing to follow up that enjoyment, 
which I now discovered to have been inspired by Norman work, 
at random I borrowed from a library some books on Normandy 
to my astonishment I could not find in them any references to 
Norman architecture, and, to my bewilderment, the buildings 
which looked like what I took to be Norman work were referred 
to as having been built in the Romanesque style. It took me 
some time to solve the mystery, which I now hope to make clear 
to you, my fellow-travellers, by bringing you into touch with the 
spirit of the Norman builders through the history of the Norman 

To track the Norman to his early habitation, look at his name 
in a slightly different form Nor'man. Before the Nor'man was 
civilized into a Norman he was a Northman, a hardy Norseman, 
a bold Vik-ing or creek-dweller, an enterprising sea-rover, a fear- 
less pirate. The homeland of the remote ancestors of the North- 
men is a matter of dispute, but, either as immigrants or natives, 
the Northmen first began to play a part in history-making when 
their home was Scandinavia and the country round and about 
the shores of the Baltic Sea. Fascinating as it would be to 
follow them through all their adventures the while they were the 
fast-budding germ of many modern European nations, we must 
resist the temptation to wander out of bounds by reminding our- 
selves that enjoyment depends to a great extent on the artistic 
instinct for selecting pleasures, and the will to follow up our 
choice, though it inevitably means the sacrifice of other enjoyable 
things. Attracted to Norman buildings, we have set out with 
the definite object of sounding the enjoyment-giving possibilities 
which we instinctively feel they possess ; whole-heartedly, there- 
fore, must we devote all our time and attention to our chosen 
friends, and on this particular pleasure-trip we must only allow 
ourselves the delight of following the history-making Northmen 
through those of their adventures whereby they were, in the 
course of about 600 years, transformed into the world-famous 
race of Norman builders. Whilst thus walking in their footsteps, 

The Norman Conquerors 

we shall, I hope, get into touch with the Norman spirit ; we shall 
discover why, with very good reason, Norman architecture is 
frequently styled * Romanesque, 1 and even ' Gothic' ; and we shall 
simplify our expedition by tracing round the territorial conquests 
of the Normans a boundary-line which will give us some idea 
as to where to look for the buildings erected by these conquerors. 

Back in the days when the Roman Empire was the predomi- 
nant power in the civilized world, we start from the shores of the 
Baltic to follow the barbarian Northman for the purpose of seeing 
how he developed into the conquering Norman. About the 
beginning of the third century the Northmen, who were then 
called * Goths,' started to push their way southward, and early 
in the fifth century they swept down in hordes on the mighty 
Roman Empire, which was ultimately broken up by various 
barbarian forces, with the Gothic tribes in the forefront of the 
fight. Britain was at this time a Roman possession, but in 
410 A.D. the Roman legions were recalled from the outlying 
parts of the Empire to defend Rome, and the Britons were once 
more a free people. Soon, however, they were harassed by the 
Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, who were near neighbours of the 
Goths, to whom they were closely akin ; these tribes of sea-rovers 
well-nigh exterminated the ancient Britons, and were, as the 
founders of England, the Northmen origin of the English race. 

About 400 years later the Northmen of the homeland 
began a civil war with their kinsmen in England, which ended 
in the temporary supremacy of these new invaders, whom 
we know under the name of * Danes.' Eventually the con- 
quered and conquering Northmen settled down together in 
England to enjoy an interval of peace under the great Danish 
King, Canute, the fusion of the tribes being due partly to the 
conversion of the Danes to Christianity, partly to a scheme for 
creating a consolidated Scandinavian Empire with its capital in 
England, and chiefly to the fact that the Danes and the English 
being so closely akin they were of the same temperament, which 
revealed common sympathies directly they had a common religious 

3 i 2 

Norman Architecture 

basis of civilization. But apart from the tie of kinship which 
induced the English to submit to a Danish ruler, Canute forged a 
strong link of sympathy by personally endearing himself to his 
English subjects, chiefly through his active, whole-hearted appre- 
ciation of their religion and by his keen sense of justice. His 
immediate successors, however, proved untamable Northmen, 
barbarian followers of the god of their fathers, Odin the war- 
god, the warrior idol who thundered forth from his Northern 
stronghold the warrior gospel, ' might is right,' and that Val- 
halla, the warrior's heaven, was only for the blood-stained hero. 

Under the bloodthirsty regime of Canute's sons the English no 
longer favoured the Northern policy of empire-making, which, as 
they discovered, exposed them to the risk of being governed by 
a Scandinavian Emperor with the primitive, savage instincts of 
their common race ; they threw off the Danish yoke, and in 1042 
elected as their King a descendant of their own English branch 
of civilized Northmen. This new ruler is now revered as 
Edward the Confessor, the last representative of the old Anglo- 
Saxon dynasty ; but he bitterly disappointed the dearest hopes of 
his subjects, who were in the strong grip of an insular patriotism, 
freshly rekindled by revolt against Northern imperialism. Edward 
came, at his country's call, from Normandy, where he had been 
living in exile at the Court of the Norman Dukes ; he brought 
over with him a large Norman following, he spoke the Norman 
language, evinced strong sympathy with his foreign friends, and 
invited to the English Court Duke William of Normandy, to 
whom, it is said, he promised to leave his crown. 

Who was this Duke William ? How had it come to pass that 
an English Prince had been living at his Court ? Who were the 
people over whom he ruled, and why did sympathy with them 
form a barrier between Edward and his own people ? 

We must go back to the early days of the tenth century, and 
set out again from Scandinavia, to find an answer to these ques- 
tions. About 900 A.D. the petty kings amongst the Northmen 
of Norway were conquered by one of their fellow-chieftains, who 


The Norman Conquerors 

determined to put a stop to the piratical habits of his country- 
men. Those of his subjects who would not submit to his new 
laws against piracy were banished, together with the chiefs who 
would not recognize his newly acquired supremacy. One of 
these outlawed Vikings was Rollo the Ganger, who sailed away 
from his native shores at the head of a formidable pirate fleet. 
In search of fresh headquarters from which he and his followers 
could pursue their sea-roving expeditions, Rollo piloted his fleet 
southwards to the mouth of the Seine, and in their gilded galleys, 
which were painted to look like dragons, these dauntless Norse- 
men made their way up the river to the wild music of their war- 
songs in praise of Odin and Valhalla. The Northmen swept 
down on France in the tenth century in exactly the same way and 
in exactly the same spirit that their forefathers had swept down 
on Britain in the fifth century and on England in the ninth 
century. Rollo and his men seized Rouen, and for ten years 
this stronghold was the base from which they harassed the French, 
whose King at last made a treaty with them in 91 1 A.D. By this 
treaty Rollo was given the French province of Neustria, which he 
was to be allowed to hold as a fief on condition that he became a 
Christian. Rollo was baptized at Rouen in 912 A.D., and pro- 
ceeded forthwith to take up the reins of government in his new 
territory. For many years the Northmen of Neustria were 
looked upon by the French as pirates, barbarian marauders, but 
towards the close of the tenth century it gradually became clear to 
the French that the Northmen, by contact with them, had gradu- 
ally become Frenchmen at heart. Neustria was now no longer 
spoken of in other parts of France as the ' Pirates' Land,' but 
was called the Northman's or Nor'man's Land, which is to say 
Normandy, and the hitherto barbarian Northman was recognized 
by the Frenchman as his civilized Norman kinsman. 

Thus we see that the Norman race was evolved during the 
tenth century from a mixture of Scandinavian and French 
elements, and as a result of this crossing of influences the 
Norman temperament was a new force in the world. This 


Norman Architecture 

temperament, which was the heritage of the Norman builders, 
still lives in the buildings to which it gave birth. The nature of 
this new Norman race was composite ; the Viking blood in their 
veins made the Normans hardy, brave, enterprising, and adven- 
turesome ; but they had imbibed through intellect and emotions 
some of the refining qualities of Franco-Latin civilization, with 
that instinct for classic art which had been developed in the 
Romans by contact with Greece. 

The conquerors who won Neustria by force were, as we know, 
Northmen ; but now that we have seen how they became 
Normans, we may begin to follow the adventures of the actual 
Norman conquerors, and mark the boundaries of the territory 
acquired by them outside Normandy, their home. The first of 
these Norman conquerors were two sons of Sir Tancred de 
Hauteville, lord of a little village in Normandy. One of them, 
Robert Guiscard, conquered Southern Italy, where he was pre- 
sently joined by his brother Roger. Together, Robert and Roger 
invaded Sicily in 1061, and eventually they succeeded in defeat- 
ing the Saracens, who were in possession of the island. In : : - : 
they made a victorious entry into Palermo, and Roger became 
Count of Sicily, ruler of the island which had been the scene of 
world-famous struggles between mighty powers, the island whose 
history had been written by great builders in the Sikel town 
walls, Phoenician roads, Carthaginian causeways, Greek temples 
and theatres, Roman amphitheatres and aqueducts, and Saracenic 
churches which abounded, and still abound, in Sicily. Loyally 
did the Normans carry on the artistic tradition of the bland ; for 
nearly 200 years the Sicilian-Norman Court was a brilliant 
centre of art and learning, and rt is to Sicily that we shall 
presently go to find some of the finest buildings which owe their 
origin to Norman enterprise. 

The next and last of the great Norman conquerors was Duke 
William of Normandy, a direct descendant of Rollo, who invaded 
England in. 1066. This tmrasrnn partook of the nature of a civil 
war, for although the Normans were French by civilization, they 


The Norman Conquerors 

\vcre, :is we have seen, closely akin to the Kn^lish, and even more 
nearly akin to any descendants of the reconquered Danish immi- 
grants who may have fought for the English cause ; indeed, a 
civil strife between the English, the Danes, and the Normans had 
been in progress long before 1066. It began by the Normans 
sheltering a fleet of their Danish kinsmen who were invading 
England ; the English, in revenge, sent a fleet to harass their 
Norman kinsmen, but the quarrel was settled for the time being 
by the English King, Athelred II., marrying the sister of the 
reigning Norman Duke. When Athelred had to flee from his 
country and leave it to the Danish conqueror, Canute, he went to 
his wife's home, Normandy, in consequence of which their son 
Edward (the Confessor) spent his youth at the Norman Court. 
When the Danes lost power in England, the English called 
Edward home from Normandy to occupy his late father's throne ; 
but whereas he was Anglo-Norman by birth, he was Franco- 
Latin in feeling a comparative stranger, therefore, to his English 
subjects, whose civilization was Teutonic, wholly uninfluenced by 
the Latin races. When Edward the Confessor died, Duke 
William of Normandy renewed the old civil strife between the 
Northern kinsmen by enforcing at the Battle of Hastings his 
claim to offer himself as a candidate for the English Crown, which 
was promised to him, he said, by the late King. The civil war 
ended, so far as we are here concerned, in the victory of the 
Normans, for by 1071 the same year that Sicily became a 
Norman possession William had won the title of "The 
Conqueror" by completing the conquest of England. The 
Normans ruled England from 1066 to 1154, and developed, 
meanwhile, their ' new style of building/ which was actually 
introduced into this country during the reign of Edward the 

That new style was based on the principles of Roman build- 
ing construction, and its family name is, therefore, Romanesque, 
the general name given to all the styles of building in vogue on 
the Continent between the decay of the Eastern or Byzantine 


Norman Architecture 

Roman Empire and the introduction of the Gothic style. Thus, 
it is quite correct to speak of Norman architecture as Romanesque 
work, but it is clearer to give it its Christian name also and call 
it Norman Romanesque : in England it is usually known by its 
Christian name only, Norman. As the Gothic style is a develop- 
ment of Romanesque, in which the Norman builders played an 
important part during the transitional period, we may be 
prepared to hear Norman architecture sometimes called 'Gothic.' 

The Norman possessions in England, France, and Southern 
Italy, were never united under one Sovereign, and gradually 
Norman power, as a separate and distinct vitality, disappeared 
from the conflicting centres of mediaeval life and strife. England 
and Normandy were, for a time, jointly subject to one ruler, but 
in 1204 Normandy was wrested by France from England, where 
a new line of Sovereigns had succeeded to the throne. Mean- 
while, the Normans in England had become Englishmen ; they had 
been brought into contact with the native Teutonic civilization 
of their Northern kinsmen there, and they had gradually got 
out of touch with the foreign, Franco-Latin civilization with 
which they had first come into contact in Normandy. The loss 
of the Norman kingdom in Italy can be traced to the marriage of 
Constance, grand-daughter of the Roger who conquered Sicily, to 
the Emperor Henry VI. of Germany. Constance's son by this 
marriage was the mighty Emperor of Norman-German extraction, 
Frederick of Hohenstaufen, who succeeded in his mother's right 
to the Norman dominions in Italy and Sicily. The Normans 
were thus drawn into the great mediaeval struggle for political 
supremacy between the spiritual and temporal powers, as one 
result of which the Norman-German power in Southern Italy 
was broken. 

It is difficult to gauge the wide extent of Norman influence 
on the world's history, but we know that in a marked degree 
that influence was architecturally artistic. Viking blood made the 
Normans a stimulating race ; they aroused into activity those 
with whom they came into contact, whilst they, in their turn, 


The Norman Conquerors 

were artistically stimulated by coming into contact with classic 
art. It is impossible to overvalue this classic influence, but it is 
easy to underestimate the intuitive artistic instinct of the North- 
man. That he had a natural, inborn artistic longing to express 
his conception of life is manifest in the old sagas, the native, 
poetic literature of the Vikings. The intense love of building 
may well have been the Norman inheritance of the Northern 
artistic instinct, but that instinct was certainly developed by the 
Franco-Latin influence which transformed the Northman into a 
Norman. It was to classically inspired -architects that the 
Normans cried, Teach us how to build/ and then, having 
learnt the techniqiie~T>f~Llie ail fur which they had so keen 
an appreciation, they turned to their English kinsmen on the 
Teutonic side and said : 'Now we will teach you how to builcL- 
And eventually they earned the right to join in the triumphant 
chorus of the builders who rejoiced in their evolution of the 
Gothic style of architecture, with its new science of construction 
and new theories of decorative art. 



OF the many local interpretations of Roman building construc- 
tion which combine to form the Romanesque style, that to which 
the early Norman type bears the strongest resemblance owes its 
origin to the Lombard builders of Northern Italy. The Lom- 
bard builders were at work as early as the seventh century, 
whereas no Norman architecture dates back further than the 
eleventh century. It follows, then, that if the similarity between 
Lombard and Norman buildings is due to the skilled craftsmen of 
the one province instructing the novices of the other province, it 
must have been the Lombards who taught the Normans the 
practical science of the building art. Was there any intercourse 
between the two races which would lead us to infer that such 
tuition was given ? As an immediate reply to this question the 
name of Lanfranc comes back to memory, and with it facts which 
imagination can weave into an explanation of the architectural 
similarity which has been noticed. 

Lanfranc was a native of Lombardy, who, like many of the 
Italian scholars of his time, wandered westwards to endow, with 
the glorious legacies of the old masters, a classical school for the 
benefit of some of the newly evolving modern nations. He 
iourneyed to France, where the fast-growing fame of the strenuous 
Normans soon reached his ear ; and, believing that Normandy 
would prove a lucrative new field for intellectual enterprise, 
thither he went, and started his school at Avranches. Here he 
found himself in a fervently religious atmosphere, for the 
Normans had at last renounced Odin, who, in spite of Rollo's 


The Norman Builders 

baptism, long remained the god of the Northmen in Neustria. 
In the first grip of their enthusiasm for the Christian religion, 
some of the Normans were setting out on a pilgrimage to the 
Holy Land, others were uniting to found new monasteries in 
some sequestered nook. Fired by this religious zeal, Lanfranc 
determined to give up his school and enter a monastery. On the 
way to Rouen to carry out his resolve, he was set upon by 
thieves, who robbed him of all his money, and in his penniless 
plight he inquired of the next passer-by the road to the nearest 
monastic retreat. He was directed to Bee, where he found 
Herlwin, a Norman warrior, installed as the spiritual father of a 
little band of monks. Lanfranc was received into the brother- 
hood, and Herlwin, who speedily recognized his intellectual gifts, 
appointed him Prior of the monastery. Whilst still keeping the 
welfare of the Church at heart, Lanfranc, under the insistent 
stimulus of the student instinct, soon made Bee the Western 
centre of learning. Thither flocked the greatest scholars of the 
day, and amongst this famous band of intellectual pioneers who 
had such a far-reaching influence on mediaeval art, letters, and 
politics, we may rest assured there were many of Lanfranc's own 
countrymen from his native province of Lombardy. Remember- 
ing that the monks were the great builders of the Middle Ages, 
we may now draw our own conclusions with regard to the 
similarity between Lombard and Norman architecture. To Bee 
the Lombards followed Lanfranc, and it naturally came to pass 
that, under the inspiration which emanated from this monastery, 
where the monks were soon erecting an abbey church, the 
Normans learnt the A, B, C of building from Lombard crafts- 
men and from members of the Northern Italian guilds of builders 
that flourished in Lombardy. And even before Lanfranc went to 
Bee, some of the Normans were probably taking their first lessons 
from similar teachers, for Duke Richard II. (r. 996 to 1026) invited 
to Normandy a famous Lombard architect to ' found monasteries 
and erect buildings.' 

Let us master this A, B, C without delay, for it is the key to 


Norman Architecture 

the constructive language of all architecture, and with its help we 
can easily understand the simple Norman dialect of technique. 
An architect must be able to plan and a builder to construct 

1. Walls to enclose a space. 

2. A roof to protect the space enclosed. 

3. Openings to allow for entrance and exit, and to admit 

light and fresh air. 

The technical or scientific knowledge and skill necessary for 
designing and carrying into effect these essential features of a 
building are the practical outcome of three elementary conclusions 
concerning three obvious difficulties : 

A. Walls have to stand upright, or, maybe, bend at a 

slight but steady angle ; they are not likely to stand 
firm, particularly if they have to carry a weight on 
their shoulders, unless they have foundations which 
spread out like roots, and take a fast grip of the 

B. Roofs, those wonderful coverings above our heads, 

must hang suspended as if by magic ; for security's 
sake they must be held in position by supports 
which bear their whole weight by sheer stability, or 
help to maintain balance. 

C. Openings for doors and windows are weak spots ; 

they must be protected in such a way that they 
remain apertures in spite of pressure from above 
and from either side. 

In a word, this A, B, C of building construction spells " pres- 
sure " as the great difficulty which has to be met and overcome. 
Every part of a building has a vertical or lateral, downward or 
sideway thrust on some part beneath it, and to prevent collapse 
that thrust must be successfully resisted. 

There are two ways of ensuring stability (a) the classical 
method of seeing that every support has sufficient rigid strength. 


The Norman Builders 

to carry its burden ; () the mediaeval system of balancing parts 
so that the whole can maintain its equilibrium. Generally speak- 
ing, the Normans used the older formula of rigid strength to 
solve the problem of pressure in connection with the forms which 
they inherited on their French side from the Roman builders 
the column, the round arch, and the vault with a semicircular 

Let us look from the scientific standpoint to see how the 
Normans constructed walls and roofs, protected apertures, and 
knit together the elementary component parts of a building into 
a secure structure. To this end we will examine a Norman 
building a church for preference, as it is most likely to answer 
in the simplest language all the questions that we are likely 
to ask. 

Naturally, we first examine the exterior of our model. The 
massive church immediately provokes an impression which has 
the keynote of rock-like stability. It is built in the form of a 
Latin cross that is to say, it has a long arm intersected at a 
little distance from the top by a short arm ; the walls which 
hedge in the cruciform enclosure do not rise to any great height 
before they are surmounted by a roof, above which peeps a square 
tower at the intersection of the two arms of the cross. The form 
of this particular church is only to be regarded as that of a speci- 
ally selected model, for the plans of Norman churches vary ; the 
essential features are massiveness and a comparatively slight eleva- 
tion, which, emphasized by the horizontal lines of a few details, 
compel our eyes to wander in a horizontal line of vision. 
Having allowed ourselves a few moments to get acquainted with 
the outward appearance of our church, let us see what the 
exterior can tell us about Norman construction. 

The deeply recessed western doorway reveals the immense 
thickness of the wall in which it is pierced, and suggests that the 
neighbouring sides are equally solid, as, indeed, is proved by 
examining them at the points where they have door and window 
openings. These walls are built up with pieces of stone, between 


Norman Architecture 

which are layers of mortar to cement them into a compact body ; 
standing on a foundation that takes a firm grip of the ground, 
they are so strong that they are undoubtedly capable of carrying 
an enormous weight. They are finished off at the top with a 
capping or cornice , which projects beyond the face of the walls ; 
this capping is composed of long pieces of stone, and has only a 
few of those joints of mortar which are generally more prone to 
break up under pressure than is solid stone. The cornice forms 
shoulders on which rest the edges of the roof. Glancing up at 
the tower, we notice that the cornice which surmounts its walls is 
a plain-faced projection resting on a row of stone blocks jutting 
out a little way down the walls ; this row of stones is called a 
corbel-table, a corbel being a projection to support a weight. 
Turning our attention to doors and windows, we see that there 
are round-headed arches to all the openings. The vertical out- 
line on both sides of each opening is maintained by large blocks 
of stone which unite to form jambs, and these prevent the 
smaller stones of the wall from falling in ; on the top of each 
jamb is a projecting stone cap, or impost, and from these imposts 
springs the arch, which is supported by the jambs and, in its turn, 
bears the vertical pressure of the wall above, and so maintains the 
top outline of the opening. In the deeply recessed openings the 
multitudinous mouldings which combine to give depth to the arch 
are supported on the same principle by detached or semi-detached 
pillars with capitals, a capital being the shoulder of a column, 
and serving the same purpose as the wall cornice. 

Now let us go inside our church. Standing at the inter- 
section of the arms of the cross, we take a general survey of the 
interior, and notice that it is arranged as follows : The portion of 
the long arm of the cross from the west door to the point where 
it is intersected by the short arm is divided by two rows of 
massive pillars into a nave with aisles on either side ; the short 
arm to the right and left forms the north and south transepts, and 
the long arm terminates east of the transepts in the chancel 
or choir. The nave has three stories (a) the nave arcade, 


The Norman Builders 

() the triforium, (c) the clear-story, or clerestory. The aisles 
are covered in on a level with the top of the nave arcade ; 
immediately over the ceiling of the aisles is the floor of the 
triforium, which is a gallery running over the aisles, and bounded 
on the one side by the outer wall, and on the other by a vertical 
continuation of the nave arcade in the form of a narrow band ot 
solid wall, surmounted by a second but smaller arcade with 
smaller columns and arches. The inner boundary of the 
triforium on either side of the nave is continued upwards as 
the walls of the clear-story. Through the windows of the 
clear-story the light can shine straight into the centre of the 
church, whereas the light which penetrates through the lower 
windows is made to cast shadows, and is generally dimmed by 
the pillars with which it comes into contact in its passage to 
the far interior. 

We have now obtained a general idea of the internal arrange- 
ment of our church, and, remembering the special object of our 
visit, we must see whether we know enough about building con- 
struction to appreciate the results which we have noticed. 
Massive piers spanned by round-headed arches stand out as the 
dominant structural features of this interior, and from what we 
have already discovered about the Norman method of ensuring 
stability, we at once realize that it is by the might of rigid 
strength that these piers resist the pressure of the arches which 
they carry on their shoulders, and so maintain the inner form of 
the church according to a pre-arranged design. Knowing, too, the 
thickness of the outer walls, and realizing now that the piers and 
arches combine to form massive inner walls, we do not wonder 
why the flat-boarded ceilings remain secure, even though we 
remember that these same walls also have to support an outer 
roof. Indeed, we should hardly be tempted to ask any fresh 
questions of a technical nature were it not for the arched ceilings 
which cover in the aisles. They are specimens of the simplest 
kinds of vaults built by the Normans, and are copies of Roman 
barrel or waggon-headed vaults, which in form look like the 


Norman Architecture 

inner surface of a barrel cut in halves lengthways, and something 
like those covers we often see stretched over waggons to protect 
the goods below from the rain. 

In some Norman buildings we shall find semicircular vaults, 
in the shape of an umbrella covering with four sections ; these 
are groined or cross vaults, and they are simply made up of two 
barrel vaults, which cross each other in such a way that their 
diagonals intersect at right angles. The earliest groined vaults, 
which are also copies of Roman work, have no ribs to support 
them in the weak spots where the sides of the umbrella-like 
sections meet ; those of a little later date have plain square ribs 
of cut stone, and still later ones have moulded ribs. Both the 
square and the moulded ribs are sometimes ornamented with 
sculpture, but at the beginning of the successive periods in which 
each kind was used they were left plain. 

Vaults were at first constructed over a temporary wooden 
framework, convex in form ; when the mortar connecting the 
materials of which the vaults were formed had been given time 
to dry, the ceiling became a solid concave-shaped covering, and 
the framework below could be removed. The ribs to any such 
vaults must be considered as supports fixed under the arched 
ceiling after it had been made to assume its general form ; 
roughly speaking, the method was just as if ribs were designed 
to fit close up to an umbrella covering after the covering itself had 
been shaped and pieced together. When the Normans and their 
fellow Romanesque building brethren began to construct the ribs 
of their vaults first, and then to adapt the infilling to their shape, 
they were preparing the way for the introduction of a new style 
of architecture ; of the part played by the Normans in this 
pioneer movement, which had such far-reaching effects, we will 
talk later on when we are nearing our journey's end. Vaults 
of all kinds must be regarded as ceilings; like flat-boarded ceilings, 
they have an outer waterproof covering with sloping sides to 
carry off the rain. 

There is one other form of a Norman covering to buildings 


The Norman Builders 

that we shall come across in England ; this is the open- timber roof 
of the simple tie-beam variety, and it is just a roof without any 
ceiling below to hide it from our view when we are standing 
under it. The construction of this form of roof is very simple. 
Laid on to the two walls are the lower ends of a beam, mortised 
into which are two principal rafters, which meet and form a 
triangle. A series of these tie-beams and principals bridge the 
building from end to end. The tie-beam counteracts the lateral 
thrust or tendency on the part of the principal rafters to push the 
wall outwards. It is almost superfluous to add that the term 
'open-timber roof is partly a figure of speech ; viewed from 
within, we can see the spaces between the rafters, and the effect 
is picturesque, but externally the roof has a solid waterproof 

Now we may relax all conscious effort to understand the 
principles of Norman building construction, and no longer as 
students need we look at walls, roofs, windows, and doors. As 
art-loving wayfarers we are free to wander amongst beautiful 
Norman buildings, and picture them throbbing with mediaeval 
life ; for, knowing how they retain their form, we can devote our 
attention to the circumstances which called them into existence, 
and expend our admiration on their unadorned grandeur and 
decorative effects. 



THE period during which the chief Norman buildings were 
erected was a little over 100 years in duration, extending from 
about the middle of the eleventh century to a little beyond the 
first half of the twelfth century. So far as England and 
Normandy are concerned, there were two styles in vogue during 
this period : (a) Early Norman, characterized by plainness and 
the rough workmanship of the amateur mason, who used wide 
joints of mortar to knit together the stones with which he built; 
() Late Norman, dating from about 1 1 15, in which we find fine- 
jointed masonry among many evidences of more finished work- 
manship, together with rich ornamentation of details. 

During the latter half of the twelfth century the~^Normans 
erected buildings in an experimental style now known as 
Transitional Norman, in which pointed arches were used in 
conjunction with the old form of round-headed arches, fore- 
shadowing the new Gothic style of architecture, which had entirely 
won favour with the Western builders by the early part of the 
thirteenth century. 

Since Normandy was an English province, and the Kings of 
England were Dukes of Normandy during the greater part of the 
Norman building epoch, it is not surprising that the buildings 
erected during that time in both Normandy and England should 
be sufficiently alike to be classified under the same headings. 
Sicilian-Norman buildings are, however, a class by themselves, as 
we shall see when we are in their midst. But, thinking collec- 
tively of the three centres of Norman building enterprise, it will 


Norman Buildings 

be helpful to remind ourselves of a general truth the practical 
demand for a building which shall serve a definite purpose 
primarily regulates the plan of that building ; beauty of form and 
other decorative effects only become necessary features of the 
design when the artistic instinct acts in concert with the utilitarian 
desire. As the Normans had to hold by force the lands they 
conquered by force, there naturally arose a demand for fortresses ; 
as they became zealous Christians, they wanted buildings in which 
they could meet together for quiet worship, while many of them 
even wished to live their daily life entirely in an atmosphere of 
peace and piety ; hence we are prepared to find the chief speci- 
mens of Norman architecture in the respective forms of CASTLES, 

Let us now devote our special attention to Normandy. We 
first go to Bee, the site of one of the earliest Norman abbeys. 
Here we must be content to dream, for the old Norman portions 
of that monastery have been destroyed ; but as we wander among 
beautiful Norman buildings which are still standing, we shall often 
like to recall this sentimental visit to the first and most important 
centre of Norman culture. The abbeys, of which Bee was such a 
notable example, were a combination of church, school, factory, 
and home ; each abbey was the abode of a monastic colony, 
living under the administrative jurisdiction of an Abbot, who 
was assisted by a Chapter, or governing body. The chief 
parts of a set of buildings forming an abbey were the church, 
adjoining which were the cloisters, where the monks studied 
and took exercise ; the armarium, or book-cupboard, which 
was superseded by a library when the collection of books 
increased ; the scriptorium, or room where manuscripts were 
copied and illuminated ; workshops for the pursuit of 
various crafts ; guest-house ; refectory, or dining-room ; 
kitchens ; store-rooms ; dormitory ; infirmary ; chapter-house, 
in which business matters were discussed by the Abbot 
and his assistant governors ; ecclesiastical court of law, and 
prison. In England the abbeys, together with the other 

19 32 

Norman Architecture 

monasteries, were despoiled and greatly destroyed at the time of 
the Reformation, and a similar fate overtook the monastic 
buildings in France when the great Revolution was in progress ; 
hence we shall not be surprised that we only find portions of 
Norman abbeys left for our artistic enjoyment. At Jumieges, a 
little to the west of Rouen, are the interesting remains of an early 
Norman abbey church ; close by is the large abbey church of St. 
Georges de Boscherville, of later date, and therefore more 
ornamented than Jumieges, well preserved, and one of the finest 
specimens of Norman architecture in Normandy. At Caen are 
the famous churches of St. Etienne and Ste. Trinite, originally 
built in connection with two of the many abbeys founded by 
William the Conqueror, the Abbaye aux Hommes and the 
Abbaye aux Dames. 

In addition to their abbey churches the monks built detached 
churches without the monastery walls for the spiritual benefit of 
the lay population of the towns and villages. Of these, Notre 
Dame sur 1'Eau at Domfront, and St. Nicholas, Caen, are good 

The chief enemies of the Normans were the French Kings ; 
they viewed with fear and jealousy the growing power of their 
vassals, the Dukes of Normandy, who added to the duchy some 
of the neighbouring French provinces, conquered England, 
and formed a powerful Norman kingdom which threatened to 
engulf the kingdom of France. For the purpose of safeguarding 
their property the Normans frequently fortified their abbeys and 
churches, and Mont St. Michel still remains to us as a fine 
example of a fortified abbey. Famous among the many strong- 
holds built by the Normans, specially to protect their French 
possessions, are the castles at Gisors, Falaise, Domfront, and 
Arques, and the celebrated fortress of Chateau Gaillard planned 
by Richard I. Most of these castles are now in ruins, but it is 
easy to reconstruct them in imagination so as to form a general 
idea of their original strength. 

The typical Norman castle consisted of a massive square 


Norman Buildings 

built on a natural or an artificial mound ; this was flanked by the 
inner bailey, or court, bounded by a wall of great thickness ; 
beyond this wall was an outer bailey fenced by the highputer 

wall of the xasHf^iirroiinriing yrhirh was a deep moat or ditch ; 

the moat was crossed by a drawbridge. The chief variation of 
this type of Norman castle was a roiind keep; sometimes, too, 
there was an inner moat encircling the keep. Within the 
precincts of the castle were the domestic buildings, chapel, 
council - chamber, and storage-rooms for provisions and the 
military stores that were needed in barracks garrisoned by 
soldiers, who lived in the days before gunpowder was invented, 
and had to fight, clad in armour, with such implements as 
battle-axes, lances, cross-bows, stones, and molten lead. When 
called upon to defend a castle, the garrison first drew up the 
bridge across the moat, so as to isolate the fortre_ss, and- let down 
the portcullises, or wooden and iron gratings, to protect the gates. 
They then manned the broad outer walls, screening themselves 
behind the -para-pet, a narrow wall rising from the outer face of 
the thick walls on which they stood. Through notches in the 
parapet, embrasures, they could discharge arrows or hurl down 
stones; through machicolations, the grooves between the corbels 
supporting the parapet, they could pour down molten lead ; and 
through balislraria, the narrow cruciform apertures in the face 
of the walls, other companies of the defending warriors could 
shower down more arrows on the enemy. The besiegers had to 
try to fill up the moat with bundles of faggots, so that they could 
get across to the wall at a chosen spot, and if, under a storm of 
missiles, they succeeded in doing this, their next step was to 
endeavour to scale the walls by the aid of ladders, or to make 
a breach through which they could rush into the outer bailey. 
Making, without the aid of explosives, a breach in a wall several 
feet thick was, as will be readily imagined, no easy task ; a 
general method was to dislodge some of the stones on the outer 
face of the wall, make a bonfire in the gap, and wait for the heat 
of the flames to loosen the mortar, so that finally a portion of 


Norman Architecture 

the solid wall fell in, leaving an opening into the outer bailey. 
But if the besiegers successfully managed to carry out their 
operations up to this point, they then had to begin their work 
all over again in order to get to the other side of the wall of the 
inner bailey, and if they succeeded here they had next to force 
an entrance into the keep. 

Even with the enemy at such close quarters the besieged 
garrison could often hold out still longer under cover, for many 
of the keeps were divided into two parts by a solid wall, and the 
only means of communication between the two divisions were 
the narrow passages in between the double side walls of these 
Norman strongholds. With the doors in the passages closed 
and barricaded, and the passages blocked, it was very difficult 
for the besiegers to make their way into the uncaptured part of 
the keep, since they had to carry on their offensive operations in 
a cramped space ; even if they succeeded, it was sometimes only 
to find that they had been cheated of the chance to meet their 
adversaries in a hand-to-hand fight, for there were secret under- 
ground passages through which, as a last desperate resource, the 
besieged could make good their escape. 

These castles were not only the headquarters of the soldiers 
and a refuge for women, children, and invalids in time of war, 
but in time of peace they were the homes of the nobles and of 
their retinue of vassals, who, under the feudal system of land 
tenure, with its military basis, had to give their landlords military 
service, at stated times, in part payment for the use of land. 

In addition to the perfect specimens and ruins of Norman 
buildings in Normandy, we find many Norman doorways preserved 
in later buildings, often in such unexpected quarters as a common 
barn. Moreover, some portions of genuine old Norman 
buildings are now used for very different purposes from those 
for which they were originally designed, having been divided up 
into shops, workrooms, market-halls, and dwelling apartments. 
Such, for instance, has been the fate of the abbey church of 


Norman Buildings 

In England there are some early Norman churches with 
features that we do not encounter in Normandy ; these are 
Saxon-Norman transitional churches, probably built by Anglo- 
Saxon workmen under Norman supervision. Fully to appreciate 
this mixed style we must have some idea of the Anglo-Saxon style 
of architecture which was practised in England before the coming 
of the Normans. The early Saxon builders constructed wooden 
buildings. In the seventh century, however, Saxon masons 
began to build stone churches, but in the ninth century the 
invading Danes destroyed a large proportion of both the early 
wooden and stone churches erected by the Anglo-Saxons. The 
English King, Alfred, encouraged his people to build new 
churches, and Canute the Dane, who succeeded to the English 
throne in 1017, caused many churches to be erected on the sites 
of battle-fields where he had fought and conquered the English, 
and in the place of those which he and his ancestors had destroyed 
during their heathen incursions. The Anglo-Saxon buildings 
which are still in existence reveal to us the characteristics of the 
style. The angles of the walls are strengthened by long upright 
stones alternating with long stones laid horizontally. This long 
and short work is sometimes carried up the face of the walls at 
intervals to bind them more firmly together. The heads of 
windows and doors are sometimes round, sometimes like two 
sides of a triangle. The window openings are frequently wider 
at the bottom than at the top, and if they are divided up into a 
number of lights, the dividing shafts are often in the form of a 
baluster, very much like the balusters or banisters of an ordinary 
modern staircase. The windows are often set in the middle of 
the walls, and splayed externally and internally that is to say, the 
sides of the opening slant so that the aperture gradually widens 
on either side towards the face of the walls. The arches are 
plain and simple, and spring from imposts that look like a square 

England is very rich in specimens of ecclesiastical and 
military Norman architecture of both the early and later styles, 


Norman Architecture 

the characteristics of which are, broadly speaking, similar to 
those in Normandy. The- earliest pure Norman work__still 
in existence jn this country is to be seen in the dormitory and 
refectory of {[Westminster AbbejkAwhich was founded by .Edward ~ 
the ConfessoT^and in the crypt of (aalerbury Cathedral The 
most perfect example of early Anglo-Norman work is St. John's 
Chapel in the keep of the Tower of London. Many English 
cathedrals originally formed part of monastic institutions. There 
are excellent specimens of both early and late Norman work in a 
great number of them, but the cathedrals of Durham and Peter- 
borough are the best representatives of Norman monastic enter- 
prise amongst those vast ecclesiastical edifices which often took so- 
many years to build that they are architectural specimens of many 
styles. Besides the Norman cathedral churches, we have remains 
of other parts of Norman monastic buildings, and some of the 
abbey churches are now parish churches, as, for example, at 
Romsey. To complete our luxurious inheritance of Norman 
ecclesiastical architecture we have the numerous and beautiful 
smaller Norman churches, such as those which attract us to. 
make a pilgrimage to Barfreston and Iffley. 

As living witnesses to the vigorous military regime of the 
Norman conquerors in England stand mighty keeps of castles in 
the full splendour of their magnificent strength, together with, 
vast ruins and the Norman portions of other fortifications which 
partly belong to a subsequent period in history. The perfect old 
keep of Norwich Castle will afford us an excellent specimen of 
Anglo-Norman military architecture ; but even if we examined all 
the perfect specimens, and allowed ourselves the delight of 
wandering amongst such fascinating old castle ruins as remain at 
Rochester and other historical places, we should still have to 
remember that a large number of Norman castles in England were 
rased to the ground in accordance with the terms of the treaty 
which brought to a close the civil war in Stephen's reign and 
signed the death-blow of the Norman dynasty in England. 

The Norman mode of life was not conducive to the develop- 


Norman Buildings 

ment of domestic architecture. The great mediasval demand for 
private mansions in the far West of Europe arose when, conditions 
having become more favourable to the arts of peace, the trading 
classes accumulated wealth and won power by commercial 
enterprise. Of the few remaining specimens of Norman dwelling- 
houses, the manor-house at Boothby Pagnel in Lincolnshire, the 
Jews' House at Lincoln, and Moyses' Hall at Bury St. Edmunds, 
are good examples. 

We will now journey to Sicily, making straight for Palermo, 
for here, where the Norman conquerors of the island held their 
Court, we shall find most of the noblest of those Norman 
buildings which have a peculiarly local power of fascination 
Directly the Normans had forced the Saracens to recognize their 
regal supremacy they began to harbour a very deep feeling of respect 
for their erstwhile foes. In their new subjects Saracens and the 
Greeks who had flocked to Sicily during the Saracenic regime 
they recognized masters of art and learning, and they extended 
to them the hand of the patron, not in the vulgar mood of 
patronage, but in that animated spirit of yearning for culture 
which makes for friendship. For and with the Normans the 
Saracens designed and built many of the exquisite mediaeval 
buildings of Sicily, the style of which is called Arabo-Norman, 
because of the strongly marked Saracenic features, such as 
domes, Moorish honeycomb ceilings, and Arabesque mosaics, 
which mingle with Norman constructive and decorative architec- 
tural features ; the style may also be called Grasco-Arabo- 
Norman, for the Greeks exercised a marked influence on it 
through the medium of their exquisite mosaic decorations. At 
first sight many of the Arabo-Norman churches look like 
mosques, but in addition to the Arabo-Norman buildings 
in Sicily, there are specimens of the purer Northern style of 
Norman architecture. Amongst the many beautiful Norman 
buildings which have their home in this Mediterranean island, 
where Art and Nature now vie with one another for our 
hearts, now harmoniously unite in triumphant splendour, are 

25 4 

Norman Architecture 

the wonderful cathedrals of Monreale and Cefalu, and the art- 
lover's shrines of mediaeval Palermo, such as the cathedral, the 
perfect little chapel and Norman room in the Royal Palace, the 
fortress-palaces of La Cuba and La Zisa, the Casa Normana, and 
the numerous churches, .of which S. Spirito and S. Cristina 
la Vetera are good examples of the Anglo-Norman style, whilst 
the Martorana church and the cloisters of S. Giovanni degli 
Eremiti are typical of Arabo-Norman work. 

Let us not attempt to compare and contrast the artistic 
merits of the Northern and Southern buildings which owe their 
origin to Norman enterprise ; rather let us rejoice that the 
buildings in the one style are within reach of short purse-strings, 
and that it is gradually becoming known that Sicily is not nearly 
so far away from the poor art-loving tourist as he was wont to 




WHEN imagination prompts the builder to add to the world's 
store of beautiful things, it suggests to him how decorative 
effects may be obtained by means of proportion^ perspective, 
grouping, contrast, line^jriass^ the play of light and sfoadow, and 
the adornment of the main structure with such ornamental 
features as sculpture, painting, and ruial=3Kork. By nature of 
its inspired origin all beauty appeals to our imagination through 
our emotions, and only in the emotional language can we 
respond. Why, then, are we not content with our mystic 
enjoyment born of emotional understanding? Why should we 
be tempted, as we are tempted, to question how beautiful results 
are achieved ? Is it because the desire to create is closely akin 
to the power to appreciate, or because we are creatures of 
intellect as well as emotions, that we want to reason our way to 
a fuller understanding of the things we love? Fellow-travellers, 
you who wander with me amongst beautiful buildings, we know 
we cannot speak to each other as we fain would speak of the 
stimulating power of fascination that these buildings wield ; but 
at least we can talk about some of the means by which the 
Norman builders achieved beautiful ends, and so answer a few 
of the questions that we are prompted to ask. 

The Northern style of pure Norman architecture was, as we 
have seen, practised first by comparatively unskilled craftsmen, 
and afterwards by great master-builders who were served by 
skilled labourers. From the artistic standpoint early Norman 
buildings have the charm of sweet simplicity and rugged 

27 42 

Norman Architecture 

grandeur ; the later buildings are indicative of an awakening 
instinct for refinement besides being better executed, they are 
richly decorated with sculpture, nevertheless they still retain the 
healthy vitality of the early style, for the luxury of ornamenta- 
tion was never allowed to undermine their strength of purpose. 

The Norman builders were masons stone was the chief 
material with which they had to make for beauty as well as 
stability, although they not infrequently made use of Roman 
bricks from local ruins of Roman structures. In constructing 
their walls they first used rough pieces of stones straight from 
the famous quarries of 'Caen, and jagged pieces of flint or other 
varieties of stone obtainable in or near the neighbourhood where 
they were at work ; then they began to face their walls with 
ashlar, stone hewn into blocks of regular size with a smooth-cut 
surface. They ornamented some of their walls by laying the face- 
stones according to a pattern, the chief of these wall-stone patterns 
being of herring-bone and diamond-shaped designs. Another 
favourite type of mural decoration was a blind arcade of inter- 
secting round arches. 

The tendency on the part of big stretches of flat walls to 
arouse a feeling of jnonetony was guarded against by carrying a 
projecting horizontal band or string-course along them, and by 
breaking them up into panels with the aid of slightly projecting, 
flat, vertical strips of masonry known as pilasters. These 
pilasters look like buttresses or props, but Norman walls were 
usually too massive to require shoring up, and pilasters may 
therefore be considered as additions originally made to the main 
structure in the name of beauty. The pilasters in late Norman 
work are sometimes ornamented at the angles with shafts which 
are let into a recess ; often, too, they project some little distance 
from the wall, and have the real nature of buttresses, strengthen- 
ing the walls at the points where the greatest pressure is exerted 
by those new vaults, which were constructed on the principle of 
first fixing strong ribs, and afterwards filling in the spaces between 
them with thin layers of stone. 


Norman Means to Beautiful Ends 

Another decorative feature is the semicircular apse bounding 
the east end of many Norman churches. This was copied from 
the semicircular recess, used as the tribune for judges, which 
terminated the Roman basilicas, those oblong halls in which the 
Romans transacted business and administered justice. The round 
apse is found in cruciform as well as in basilican Norman 
churches, and it has a special charm, because it harmonizes so 
well with the round arches which are everywhere in evidence in 
these buildings. 

Norman windows are usually long and narrow ; sometimes 
the openings are single, sometimes they are divided by a shaft 
into two lights, which are either included under one arch or each 
has its own arched head, with or without a main arch spanning 
the whole width of the aperture ; again, the openings are found 
in the centre of a triple-arch arcade, only the central portion being 
pierced ; and yet again, each section of the arcade is pierced so as 
to form a triple-light window. In this grouping of apertures we 
recognize a striving on the part of the Norman builders to 
enhance the beauty of window-openings and to entice sun and 
stones to play together the picturesque game of throwing lights 
and shadows. Large circular windows are also characteristic of 
the style ; they are either plain round openings, or they are 
divided up by shafts which radiate from the centre to the circum- 
ference like the spokes of a wheel, a decorative arrangement 
which has won for them the name of Catherine-wheel windows. 
Many of the Norman windows were enlarged by the Gothic 
builders, who also destroyed numbers of them, replacing them 
by larger windows, to further their schemes for the better 
lighting j of buildings and to provide space for the display of 
painted glass. 

At the outset of their epoch-making architectural enterprise 
the Normans were content with the innate beauty of curve in the 
plain round arches with which they spanned the openings for both 
doors and windows, but later on they began to ornament with 
sculpture the mouldings of these arches and the sides of the 


Norman Architecture 

openings. Deeply recessed, richly decorated doorways and 
porches are a special feature of late Norman work. 

Early Norman piers are square, round, or octagonal shafts of 
plain stone, finished off at the bottom with a % simply rounded 
moulding, and standing on a plain, square-cut pedestal ; at the 
top they have a capital of the well-known cushion shape, sur- 
mounted by a square abacus, or the capital has a spiral scroll at 
the angles. Round the later piers are grouped plain and spiral 
shafts, each with its own richly sculptured capital, standing on 
bases to which a number of mouldings combine to give height ; 
these clustered piers are very picturesque, and look more graceful 
than their plain, massive predecessors. 

Prominent amongst the means by which the Norman builders 
achieved beautiful ends are the towers which they reared above 
their churches ; these towers are usually square in form, but in 
Norfolk and Suffolk there are round specimens. In the little 
churches consisting of a nave and chancel only we find one tower 
either between these east and west divisions or at the extreme 
west end of the edifice ; in the cruciform churches there is some- 
times one tower at the intersection of the nave, transepts, and 
choir, and sometimes there are two flanking the west end. 
Turrets, or small towers comparatively high in proportion to 
their breadth, are sometimes found flanking the west end and the 
transepts of Norman churches, or they may have a place at the 
angles of the bigger towers. These turrets and towers diminish 
any tendency to clumsiness of appearance in the massive buildings 
they surmount, but even when they are capped by a pyramidical 
roof their height is not very great, and they unite with the whole 
structure in insisting that our line of vision shall be horizontal the 
while we look at those outward and visible forms through which 
the Norman builders make their appeal to our hearts. The 
pyramidical roofs to towers and turrets are miniature spires, but 
the tall, graceful spires sometimes found soaring above Norman 
towers were added in later days, when the Gothic builders, in the 


Norman Means to Beautiful Ends 

grip of a passion for vertical lines, were demonstrating the dignity 
of height. 

Although, generally speaking, the Normans did not come 
under the spell of height, they were fully conscious of the great 
artistic possibilities afforded by proportion. A short person, as 
we know, may be as well proportioned as a tall one, and a well- 
proportioned short individual is much pleasanter to behold than a 
very thin giant whose neck is too long for his body and his body 
too short for his legs. Taken collectively, Norman buildings have 
not the charm of lofty elevation, but in relation to their height many 
of them have the fullest possible power of that innate fascination of 
parts related by size to each other and to the whole which they 
combine to form. How proportion can be made to give us so 
much joy is the artist's secret, which may be partly but never 
wholly wrung from his work by the aid of a measuring-rod. 

Early Norman sculpture is not cut very deep into the stone 
it ornaments. We find it chiefly on the tympanum, the space 
between the square head of a door and the round arch above it, 
and on the mouldings of arches. The design on the tympanum 
is generally a somewhat elementary composition, in which animals 
and human beings figure, and the workmanship is poor in quality ; 
still, their very crudeness of conceptiori and execution makes these 
sculptures interesting, and we must remember that in these early 
days the sculptor's tool was but an axe. Early mouldings are 
decorated with the zigzag and billet ornaments. In course of 
time the Norman sculptors acquired more skill in wielding the 
axe, and eventually they learnt how to use the chisel, a tool with 
which they could carve deeper into the stone, unless it was 
of a very hard variety like granite, and probe into more 
out-of-the-way places for purposes of decoration. Doorways, 
window openings, shafts, capitals, vaulting ribs, chancel arches, 
tympana, corbel tables, and fonts, were richly decorated with 
sculpture in the days of late Norman work. Specially charac- 
teristic of the period are the mouldings covered with manifold 

Norman Architecture 

designs, which have the charm of originality that instinctively 
breeds appropriate ornaments for the particular style of beauty 
they are intended to adorn. 

In Sicilian-Norman architecture colour is a great factor of the 
decorative scheme. Colour certainly played a part in enhancing 
the beauty of Northern Norman architecture, as is proved by 
existing traces of painting on the surface of stonework. The 
fading tints of foliage painted on capitals, and the zigzag, hori- 
zontal, and vertical bands of colours, faded or restored, on arches, 
help our imagination to picture the barbaric splendour of these 
Northern Norman buildings in their original state ; but in reality 
colour is now only given to these buildings by the time-tinged 
hues of grey and yellow stone and red Roman-made bricks. In 
Sicily, where the Saracens and Greeks worked for their Norman 
masters, glorious and enduring colour effects were obtained by 
piecing together multi-coloured fragments of marble and glass 
into various designs, and the beautiful mosaics that were thus 
created still give their wealth of rainbow tints to aid Arabo- 
Norman buildings in winning our hearts. The mosaics of 
Cefalu, Monreale, and Palermo are world-famous ; narrow bands 
of mosaic-work in geometrical patterns, totalling hundreds of feet 
in length, coil round columns or run up them in straight or 
zigzag lines, outline openings, and break walls up into panels, 
whilst ' mosaic pictures ' completely cover all but the lower part 
of many of the walls. Practically speaking, it is to the Saracens 
that we owe our debt of gratitude for the structural beauty of 
these Arabo-Norman buildings, and for their ornamentation we 
are indebted to both Saracens and Greeks ; but theoretically our 
account is with the Normans, who not merely raised the demand 
for these buildings, but frequently contributed to the general 
scheme structural features and decorative designs which they 
themselves executed. 

In the Southern type of Norman architectural beauty there is 
a distinctly Oriental strain, suggestive of a luxurious civilization, 
whilst the ruder Northern type is indicative of a new race work- 


Norman Means to Beautiful Ends 

ing out its own civilization and groping its way towards the 
achievement of its own artistic ideals. Both styles of beauty 
have qualities which cannot fail to arouse a feeling of joy in our 
hearts ; but which has the greater power of fascination depends 
primarily on the temperament of the individual wayfarer, and 
incidentally on his mood at the passing moment when he is 
brought into contact with the one or the other. 




THE first step in the introduction of the Western style of archi- 
tecture which succeeded Norm an and all other varieties of 
Romanesque building was the use of the pointed arch. The 
Western origin of the pointed arch is a matter of dispute. Some 
authorities maintain that the Western builders copied the form of 
the pointed arch from an Eastern original, for it is found in 
Saracenic buildings which date back to the ninth century. Others 
think that the Western builders re-invented the pointed arch, and 
that its form was suggested to them (a) by the intersection of 
round arches in an arcade ; (<) by the intersection of cross 
vaults ; or (c) by the pointed oval form of the Vesica Piscis, a 
mystical figure often used in the Middle Ages as an aureole 
round representations of the three Persons of the Trinity and 
the Virgin, and having its origin in the form of a fish, which was 
used as a symbol by the early Christians because the letters in 
the Greek word for c fish ' form the initial letters of the Greek 
for * Jesus Christ, Son of God, the Saviour.' 

Let us accept the opinion of those who maintain that the 
Western builders did not discover the form of the pointed arch, 
but obtained it from the Saracens. 

The general argument in support of this theory is that the 
form of the pointed arch was imported by the West, together 
with many other things Eastern, at the time of the Crusades, 
those Holy Wars which gave an impetus to ecclesiastical architec- 
ture by firing religious enthusiasm, and which did so much to 
bring the West into contact with the East. But if the use of 


Norman Shadows of Coming Events 

the pointed arch in the West is the outcome of Saracenic in- 
fluence, it is quite possible that we are indebted to the Normans 
for first making the Western builders acquainted with it. In 
Sicily their building-masters were the Saracens themselves, and it 
is therefore within the bounds of probability that the Normans 
in the South communicated the form of the pointed arch to their 
kinsmen in the North, and that they, in their turn, made it known 
to neighbouring countries, or news of it may have reached the 
Romanesque builders via Italy through the Normans there, 
who were such near neighbours of their kinsmen in Sicily. 
(Thus I argued to myself one day in Sicily. I was 
dreaming, on the moonlit way home to my hotel, of the 
beautiful buildings which only a few hours ago I had 
seen for the first time, when suddenly I was called back to 
earth by the voice of a fellow-traveller : " What is your theory 
with regard to the origin of the pointed arch ?" I answered, <c I 
have none," which was true at the moment. I tried to get back 
to dreamland, but the spell was broken, and " What is your 
theory ?" " What is your theory ?" echoed in my ear. I began to 
think, evolved the Sicilian-Norman explanation of the introduc- 
tion of the pointed arch into Northern Europe, checked it by 
dates, came to the conclusion that it was plausible, and prided 
myself on having formulated a logically original theory with 
regard to a vexed question in architecture. Some months after- 
wards I discovered that a distinguished critic, Mr. Gaily Knight, 
had advanced a similar theory long years ago ; thus perished the 
" originality " of my speculations concerning the pointed arch.) 

But the mere form of the pointed arch cannot be taken as an 
infallible proof of the building in which it occurs having been 
erected either in the new Gothic style or in the transitional style 
through which the Romanesque merged into Gothic during the 
latter part of the twelfth century ; in Sicily, for instance, the 
Norman Bridge of the Admiral, which was built as early as 1113, 
has a series of pointed arches. But, roughly speaking, when 
round arches and pointed arches are found together we may jump 

35 52 

Norman Architecture 

to a hasty conclusion that the building in which they occur is 
transitional in style, only we must be very careful to verify this 
conclusion by seeing that the mouldings of the pointed arches, 
the ornamentation on them, the piers which support them, and 
the general surroundings, are Romanesque in character, for it is 
quite possible that the round arches may be pure Romanesque 
work and the pointed ones of pure Gothic origin. As we are 
already familiar with the chief details of the Norman- Romanesque 
style, we shall have no difficulty in recognizing the best specimens 
of transitional work which we meet with during our present ex- 
pedition. Noteworthy examples are the ruins of Build was Abbey, 
with pointed arches springing from massive Norman piers in the 
nave, and round-headed windows in the clerestory ; St. Cross 
Church, Winchester, in which we find round, intersecting, and 
pointed arches, having Norman mouldings with the characteristic 
zigzag ornament further to show us to whom they owe their 
origin ; and St. Joseph's Chapel, Glastonbury, which, in spite of 
the fact that it is now in ruins, still remains one of the finest 
specimens of Norman transitional work. 

It is the evolution of vaulting that is the true Romanesque link 
between Classic and Gothic architecture ; in the forging of this 
link the Normans played an active part. Let us see how it came 
to pass that the mediaeval master-builders were called upon to 
solve a new vaulting problem. 

Directly the Romanesque builders began to construct the ribs 
of their vaults first, they realized the full significance of the 
simple fact that semicircular ribs of unequal curvature are un- 
equal in height. A few simple illustrations will explain the 
vaulting troubles arising out of this geometrical fact, and the 
methods by which they were experimentally met, till at length 
they were successfully overcome. Imagine that we have four 
columns set up at the angles of a square ; we want to cover over 
the space within the square with vaults of which we have first to 
design and fix the ribs. We begin by working out the design 
on paper, drawing a square with its diagonals ; with the point of 


Norman Shadows of Coming Events 

intersection of the diagonals as centre and half a side of the 
square as radius, we can strike a circle that will touch each side of 
the square, from which we see that if we fill in the angles of the 
square made by our four columns we can get a circular base on 
which we can build a dome. This was the plan adopted by the 
Saracens ; hence the domical roofs which are a feature of Arabo- 
Norman buildings. But some of the new races of builders did 
not favour the form of the dome or any form of vault tending 
to this shape ; to understand the nature of their vaulting problem 
let us draw another square with its diagonals. If we strike semi- 
circles spanning each side of the square and others spanning the 
diagonals, the semicircles on the diagonals will have a greater 
altitude than the ones on the sides ; this is naturally accounted 
for by the fact that the diagonal of a square is longer than its 
side, and from this experiment we discover that if we make 
semicircular ribs for our vault those spanning the space between 
the columns on any side of the square will not be so high as the 
diagonal ribs. The Romanesque builders energetically strove to 
solve the problem of making longitudinal, transverse, and diagonal 
ribs of equal height ; when they wanted to vault an oblong com- 
partment the problem was more difficult than in the case of a 
square bay, for they then had to deal with three instead of two 
round arches of different curvature. They stilted the ribs of 
smaller curvature that is to say, raised them up on vertical props 
or made the diagonal ribs segments of a circle instead of perfect 
semicircles ; but not only was it often very difficult for them to 
adjust their vaulting ribs, but their artistic sense rebelled against 
the awkward lines resulting from the liberties they had to take 
with round ribs of unequal curvature in order to get them the 
same height. The late Romanesque builders made many ex- 
periments with their vaulting ribs, with the result that some of 
their vaults are curious and interesting specimens of stone patch- 
work, looking like umbrella coverings with quaintly shaped 
pieces let in to fill up gaps. The Normans were amongst the 
most enterprising of the builders who tried to solve the problem 


Norman Architecture 

of levelling vaulting ribs, as witness many vaults that were con- 
structed by them in Normandy and in England ; moreover, it is 
believed that they were the first mediaeval builders who erected 
cross vaults on the system of covering a space with a framework 
of ribs, and so regulating the curvature of the surface of vaults 
that can be filled in, without the aid of temporary supports, by 
laying stones in courses from rib to rib. This system of vaulting 
led to the introduction and development of the principle of 
ensuring stability by means of balance. It was no longer neces- 
sary to make vaults of great thickness and to provide massive 
piers and thick walls to support them. From more graceful 
piers sprang arched ribs, balancing on their backs a thin infilling ; 
the arches helped the piers to resist the downward pressure of the 
vaults ; the lateral thrust of the arches was counteracted by wall- 
props or buttresses, and the pieces of wall between the buttresses 
were gradually made less thick as gradually they had less work to do. 

The Romanesque vaulting problem was solved, finally and 
artistically, by the Gothic builders, who made use of the form of 
the pointed arch for their vaulting ribs, it being a comparatively 
easy matter to make pointed arches of unequal span and equal 
height. All discoveries seem so simple when they are made that 
we are apt to underestimate the help given to the actual discoverers 
by those who clear the way and pave the road to victory. To 
all the Romanesque builders we owe our first thanks for Gothic 
buildings, as well as for those built in their own distinct style ; 
and especially are we indebted to the Normans, for it was in 
Northern France, in and around Normandy itself, that the new 
Western style of architecture sprung into existence. 

Proud indeed may we be of the Norman buildings in the 
world's architectural picture-gallery ; they deserve the place of 
honour among the noble ancestors of worthy descendants, for 
they are specially typical of that strenuous activity which makes 
for progress. If, as we wander among these beautiful buildings, 
we are tempted to compare them at all unfavourably with their 
beautiful Gothic descendants, let us remind ourselves that they 


Norman Shadows of Coming Events 

are the work of men who bequeathed an ideal to their children. 
And if, whilst we are critically disposed towards these same 
buildings, there flashes above the horizon of our mind's eye the 
perfect picture of one of their classic antecedents, let us but 
remember that the Normans were a new race bent on working 
out their own architectural salvation ; then, surely enough, we 
shall find ourselves summoned back from the critical plane to the 
silent heights of pure enjoyment by that glorious Gospel of Im- 
perfection, " 'Twere better youth should strive toward making, 
than repose on aught found made." 





HISTORICAL NOTE. The Church of Notre Dame sur 1'Eau, Domfront, wa-> 
begun about 1020. The nave and transepts were erected in the eleventh 
century, the chancel in the twelfth century. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. The plan of this church is cruciform. The work is, for 
the most part, early and plain but the chancel, which is of later date, is 
ornamented with a blind arcade. 

GENERAL NOTE. This church has a treasure in its eleventh-century altar. 
Specimens of these early altars are very rare. 


P. Limon. 





HISTORICAL NOTE. The Abbey of Bernay was founded in 1013 by Judith of 
Brittany, the wife of Richard, fourth Duke of Normandy, and the grand- 
mother of William the Conqueror. The abbey was fortified, but in the 
sixteenth century it fell into the hands of the Huguenots, who burnt a 
great part of it $ the abbey church escaped the flames. The monastic build- 
ings were subsequently restored, and part of them are now the Hotel de 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. The large abbey church is a valuable specimen of very 
early Norman work, the nave (shown in our illustration) dating from 
1015 to 1050 ; the choir and transepts were, however, added in the second 
half of the eleventh century, and during this period, and in the beginning 
of the twelfth century, some of the early work was ornamented. 

GENERAL NOTE. Part of the abbey church is now used as a corn market, and 
part is divided up into shops and tenements. 


Man sell & Co. 

4 6 



HISTORICAL NOTE. The monastery of Jumieges was founded by St. Philibert in 
the seventh century, and its first church was built in 655 ; this church 
was destroyed by Rollo, who, with his followers, broke up the old monastic 
brotherhood. Rollo's son had compassion on the few monks who stayed on 
amongst the ruins of their home. He restored their church for them, and 
a small part of this old building is still in existence. Close by the first 
church the Normans laid the foundations of the present abbey church in 
1040. The work of building it was superintended chiefly by Abbot 
Robert of Jumieges, and his church was consecrated in 1067. The 
monastery was suppressed and the abbey dismantled in the latter part of 
the eighteenth century. Most of the monastic buildings have been 
completely destroyed ; the church is in ruins, but the parts of it which are 
still standing are mostly the original work of the Normans. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. This church is a fine specimen of early Norman 
architecture. It has the characteristic wide-jointed masonry of the period, 
and equally characteristic is its simple grandeur ; there are very few 
traces of any attempt to obtain decorative effects through the medium of 
ornamentation. Some of the capitals, however, show signs of 1 aving 
been covered with plaster and painted. 

GENERAL NOTE. Robert of Jumieges, who built this church, was invited over to 
England by Edward the Confessor, and he shared in the favours which the 
Norman-bred King so liberally distributed amongst foreigners, thereby 
alienating himself from his subjects. Robert was first elected Bishop ot 
London, and afterwards presented with the Archbishopric of Canteibury. 


P. Limon. 



HISTORICAL NOTE. The Abbey of St. Georges de Boscherville was founded and 
the church built in the eleventh century by Raoul de Tancarville, who was 
Chamberlain to William the Conqueror. The abbey was destroyed at tne 
time of the Revolution, but the church was not greatly damaged. Tne 
old chapter-house is also still standing. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. This church is apparently of a little later date than the 
abbey church at Jumitges, for the work is better executed and there are 
more ornamental details. The capitals to the piers are sculptured, and 
there is a doorway with mouldings, but all the ornamentation is very 
simple, and the character of the whole style of the building is essentially 
early Norman. The aisles and choir have groined vaults of the early 
type, without ribs. The church is one of the most perfect specimens of 
Norman architecture in Normandy. The chapter-house is a good 
example of the transitional Norman style. It was built by Abbot Victor, 
who was Abbot of the monastery from 1157 to 1211 

GENERAL NOTE. This old abbey church of St. Georges de Boscherville is now 
used as the parish church of the village of St. Martin de Boscherville. 


Mansell & Co. 




HISTORICAL NOTE. The Abbaye aux Hommes was founded by Duke William 
of Normandy in 1066. The vast abbey church was consecrated by 
Lanfranc in 1077, but for more than a hundred years after this alterations 
and additions were constantly being made. In 1090 the present west 
front was erected up against the original one, which was left standing ; 
the aisles were vaulted, and the lower part of each of the two west 
towers was built. The nave was vaulted in 1160, when the walls were 
faced with ashlar and the wide triforium was constructed, and about this 
time the original apse was removed and the east end was lengthened. The 
choir was added early in the thirteenth century, as were also the octagonal 
spires to the west towers. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. St. Etienne affords us an excellent opportunity for 
tracing the gradual development of the Norman style. There are a few 
traces of the wide-jointed masonry showing the earliest work executed in 
the Conqueror's days, and there is later work with fine-jointed masonry. 
There are early groined vaults without ribs, and vaults which help us to 
realize the difficulty of the vaulting problem which presented itself for 
solution when the practice arose of first building a framework of ribs for 
vaults. In the nave of St. Etienne two oblong bays are made to form one 
vaulting compartment, that thus becomes nearly square, the square 
compartment involving, as we know, the fewest complications in con- 
nection with level ribs. The vaults resulting from this coupling of bays 
have six sections or severies, and are of the sexpartite or hexapartite 
variety. The spires herald the approach of the new vertical style. 

GENERAL NOTE. William the Conqueror and his wife Matilda of Flanders 
were excommunicated for having married in spite of the fact that they 
were related to one another. The Pope ultimately agreed to grant them a 
dispensation on condition that they built two abbeys, and accordingly they 
founded the Abbaye aux Hommes and the Abbaye aux Dames at Caen. 

Nettrdein Freres. 




HISTORICAL NOTE. The Abbaye aux Dames was begun in 1062. The church 
was dedicated in 1066. Of the early work there are no visible traces, and 
the present church dates from the second period of the Norman style. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. ' During the twenty or thirty years that elapsed between 
the building of St. Stephen's Church and that of the Abbaye aux Dames 
immense progress seems to have been made towards the new style. . . 
The great gallery is omitted, the side aisles made higher, the piers lighter 
and more ornamental. The triforium is a mere passage under the 
upper windows, and so managed as not to intercept their light from any 
part of the church. Even the vaulting, though in some parts hexapartite, 
in others shows a great approach to the quadripartite vaulting of the 
subsequent age. . . . The greatest change is in the richness and elegance 
of the details, which show great progress towards the more ornamental 
style that soon afterwards came into use 1 (Fergusson). 

GENERAL NOTE. One of the first Sisters of this convent was William the 
Conqueror's eldest daughter. At the time of the dedication of Ste. Trinite 
her parents expressed the wish that she should be brought up in the service 
of the Church ; eventually she became Abbess of the convent. 


P Limon. 




HISTORICAL NOTE. This church was begun about 1084. and finished in 1093. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. Very few alterations have been made to the original 
structure, and it still retains its round east end. ' It is the only church, so 
far as I know, in Normandy that retains the original external covering of 
its apse. This consists of a high pyramidal roof of stone, following to the 
eastward the polygonal form of the apse, and extending one bay towards 
the west. From an examination of the central tower, it is clear that this 
was not the original pitch of the church roof, which was nearly as low in 
all Norman churches as in those of Auvergne. In this instance the roof 
over the apse was a sort of semi -spire placed over an altar, to mark 
externally the importance of the portion of the church beneath it. In 
appearance it is identical with the polygonal cones at Loches. At Bourges, 
and elsewhere in France, similar cones are found over chapels and altars ; 
but in most instances they have been removed, probably from some defect 
in construction, or from their not harmonizing with the wooden roofs of the 
rest of the church. They were, in fact, the originals of the spires which 
afterwards became so much in vogue ' (Fergusson). 

GENERAL NOTE. St. Nicholas was built by the monks of St. Etienne as a parish 
church for the laymen of the neighbourhood. 




HISTORICAL NOTE. The Abbey Church of Mont St. Michel and the abbey 
buildings, partaking of the nature of fortifications, are built on a rock 
which rises 257 feet above the sea level, and has a circumference at the base 
of 3,000 feet. The first church was built here in 709, the second in the 
tenth century, and the third and present church was founded in 1020. 
The abbey buildings, designed for ecclesiastical and military purposes, 
were for the most part erected by the Gothic builders during the thirteenth 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. Although the fortified Abbey of Mont St. Michel is to 
a great extent an example of Gothic military architecture, and serves to 
provide us with a specimen of the building style which succeeded that of 
the Normans, it is to the Normans that the abbey largely owes the origin 
of its importance as a mediaeval stronghold. True, the first little church 
was built on the bare rock of Mont St. Michel before the Northmen 
invaded Normandy, but it was Rollo's grandson, Richard the Fearless, 
Duke of Normandy, who founded the church of the Benedictine monks 
here in 966, and the Normans were the great patrons of the abbey. Owing 
to their munificence the monks were enabled to build the present church 
when Richard's church was burnt down, and the nave, which was 
completed in 1060, together with the transept, of about the same date, 
still stands, although the church has recently been restored. Some of the 
old twelfth-century dwellings of the monks are still in existence, and part 
of the sub-structure is twelfth -century work. The Normans bequeathed to 
their successors the nucleus of this great abbey, reared on a rock whose 
isolated position was a natural means of de ence, and the Gothic builders 
added to it such mighty fortifications that the inhabitants were sheltered 
within a well-nigh impregnable fortress. 

GENERAL NOTE. The Abbey of Mont St. Michel was frequently used as a State 
prison. The prison was abolished in 1863. The abbey was subsequently 
let to the Bishop of Coutances, and afterwards inhabited by the monks of 
St Edme de Pontigny till 1886. 




HISTORICAL NOTE. The Chapel of St. John is in the White Tower or Keep of 
the Tower of London, which was begun about 1078 by Gundulph, a monk 
of Bee, who became Bishop of Rochester. The chapel was ready for use 
during the Conqueror's reign. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. St. John's Chapel is the most perfect specimen of an 
early Norman building in England. Its length is 55 feet 6 inches ; width, 
31 feet ; height, 32 feet. It has a nave covered in with a barrel vault, 
aisles, double walls with passages in them, and square-edged semicircular 
arches springing from massive piers. The work is on the whole very plain, 
but the effect is imposing, borne of the capitals are of the decorative 
type with scrolls at the angles and a plain, projecting T midway between 
the sides. 

GENERAL NOTE. The old Norman church of Lery, in Normandy, and St. John's 
Chapel lend themselves to comparison. In referring to Normandy, Fer- 
gusson says : ' Amongst the oldest-looking buildings of pure Norman 
architecture is the church of Lery, near Pont de 1'Arche. It is the only 
one, so far as is known, with a simple tunnel vault, and this is so massive, 
and rests on piers of such unusual solidity, as to give it an appearance of 
immense antiquity. There is no good reason, however, for believing that 
it really is older than the chapel of the Tower of London, which it 
resembles in most respects, though the latter is of somewhat lighter 






HISTORICAL NOTE. Worcester was a cathedral city in Anglo-Saxon times. 
The pre-Conquest cathedral was pulled down by order of Bishop Wulfstan, 
now revered as St. Wulfstan, who regretfully sacrificed the ancient edifice 
to his building enthusiasm. The new cathedral was begun in 1084. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. Additions and alterations were made throughout a 
lengthy period, resulting in a structure that includes specimens of various 
architectural styles from early Norman to late Gothic. The cathedral 
has been extensively restored ; practically the whole of the exterior and 
much of the interior date only from the nineteenth century. Wulfstan's 
crypt (see illustration) is, however, almost wholly the original work of the 
old N( rman builders. 

GENERAL NOTE. The present cathedral, as begun by Wulfstan, was connected 
with a Benedictine priory. 





HISTORICAL NOTE. Canterbury Cathedral stands on the site of an old Roman 
church which was enlarged by the Saxons, but destroyed by fire in 
1067 ; the work of reconstruction was rndertaken by Lanfranc. The 
choir of Lanfranc's church was afterwards rebuilt by Anselm, only to 
be wrecked in 1174 by a second disastrous fire, and the choir was rebuilt 
yet again, under the direction of William of Sens from 1175 to 1178, after 
which William, an Englishman, superintended the work. This, the 
present choir, was completed in 1 1 84. The nave was rebuilt in the 
fourteenth century, and the central tower was completed about 1 500. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. This cathedral, the first great English building 
erected in the Gothic style, was carefully planned by the French master- 
builder so as to include parts of the old Norman work which had survived 
the flames. Two Norman chapels are preserved in the choir, some 
Norman work exists in the transepts, parts of the old monastic buildings 
are still standing, a beautiful Norman staircase leads up to the King's 
School, and an interesting arcade shows a round arch side by side with a 
pointed one the former a simple arch decorated with sculpture wrought 
with the axe, the latter with mouldings ornamented with the characteristic 
Early English Gothic dog-tooth sculpture carved with a chisel. The 
crypt (shown in our illustration) affords a good example of early Norman 
groined vaulting. 

GENERAL NOTE. Canterbury Cathedral was attached to a Benedictine 
monastery. The Benedictine monastic Order was founded in Italy by 
St. Benedict in the sixth century ; it was represented in England by many 
ecclesiastical colonies. The monks of this Order took a very active interest 
in the Arts. 

6 4 



See notes to previous illustration. 

This outside staircase, leading up to the King's School in the Green Court of 
Canterbury Cathedral, is a gem of Norman architecture. It is one of the most 
picturesque treasures that we have inherited from the Norman builders. 

S. B. Bolas & Co. 




HISTORICAL NOTE. Waltham Abbey was founded by Tovi, standard-bearer to 
Canute. The church was rebuilt on a magnificent scale by Harold, and 
consecrated in 1060 ; Harold's church was restored and partly rebuilt in 
the latter part of the thirteenth century, and the western tower was rebuilt 
about the middle of the sixteenth century. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. Harold's church was cruciform in plan, but of his 
magnificent edifice only the nave and aisles now remain. The original 
work dates back to the beginning of the Norman style in the Anglo- 
Saxon period, and is very massive. The columns of the nave arcade 
are ornamented with spiral and zigzag indentations. The interior is 
one of the most interesting and one of the grandest specimens of Norman 

GENERAL NOTE. It was from Waltham that Harold started out for Senlac to 
meet Duke William and the Norman invaders. Harold fell in the 
memorable battle which heralded the Norman conquest of England, and 
his body was brought back to Waltham and interred in the church he had 





HISTORICAL NOTE. This castle was erected soon after the Conquest. Many 
parts of this stronghold have been demolished, but the massive keep still 
stands on the central mound to bear testimony to the might of this 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. The keep of Norwich Castle is 96 feet long, 93 feet 
wide, and 70 feet high. It was entirely refaced early in the nineteenth 

GENERAL NOTE. The keep was used as the county prison from early in the 
fourteenth century till 1887, when it was converted into a museum. 

6 9 




HISTORICAL NOTE. The present cathedral was begun by Eishop Walkelyn 
about ioyo> and finished about the end of the eleventh century. The 
central tower fell early in the twelfth century, and the present tower was 
erected soon after. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. The crypt, transepts, and tower are Norman, but the 
Norman nave and choir are faced with a Gothic casing dating from 
1394. to 1486. The Gothic retro-choir, erected between 1189 and 1204, is 
the largest retro-choir in England. In the cathedral is a famous twelfth- 
century font. The cathedral affords an excellent opportunity for comparing 
early and late Norman masonry, for when the central tower fell the 
transepts were somewhat damaged ; the repairs are executed in fine- 
jointed masonry, which is joined up to the wide-jointed masonry of the 
earlier and original work. 

GENERAL NOTE. When the central tower fell, owing to defective mascnry, 
superstitious people looked on the catastrophe as a judgment because 
\\ illiam Rufus had been buried beneath the tower. 

F. Frith & Co. 



HISTORICAL NOTE. The old Roman town of Verulamium came to be known as 
St. Albans on account of the martyrdom of Alban. St. Alban, who is 
said to have been the first Christian martyr in Britain, was beheaded in 
the neighbourhood of the present cathedral at the beginning of the 
fourth century. Soon after his death a little church was built to enshrine 
his relics, but this church was destroyed by the Saxons. In the eighth 
century Offa, King of Mercia, founded the monastery of St. Albans, but 
his abbey church was replaced by the present edifice, which was begun by 
Abbot Paul of Caen in 1077, and the work of which was carried on 
through the reigns of William the Conqueror and William Rufus. A 
greater part of the church was erected during the Norman epoch, but part 
of the nave was constructed by the Gothic builders. Extensive restora- 
tions were carried out during the latter half of the nineteenth century, 
when St. Albans was made a diocese and the abbey church became the 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. The building materials of which the cathedral is 
constructed consist largely of Roman bricks, which were most probably 
obtained from old buildings in Verulamium. In the triforium of the 
transepts are some Saxon balusters from Offa's church. The nave of 
St. Albans is the longest in England. 

GENERAL NOTE. St. Alban was beheaded during the fierce persecution of the 
Christians which took place in all parts of the Roman Empire at the 
instigation of the Emperors Diocletian and Maximian. 





HISTORICAL NOTE. This tower was erected about 1090 ; it was restored in 
1846 to 1847. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. The tower is 86 feet high, 36 feet square, and the walls 
are about 6 feet in thickness. The arcades are fine specimens of early 
but rich Norman work. The porch is of later date by about half a 

GENERAL NOTE. This tower constituted one of the entrances to the abbey 
church of the famous monastery which grew up round the shrine of King 
Edmund the Martyr. The Norman Tower, the Gothic Abbey Gate, and 
the Abbot's Bridge, are now the principal remains of the monastery. 
Carlyle gives an interesting account of the abbey in 'Past and Present.' 


H. I. Jarmati. 

IO 2 

7 6 



HISTORICAL NOTE. The present cathedral was begun during the closing years 
of the eleventh century, and it was first consecrated in 1108. The edifice 
was much damaged by fire in 1186, and in connection with the work of 
restoration the east end was remodelled in the late transitional Norman 
and early Gothic styles. The Gothic builders subsequently made many 
additions and alterations. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. The plain Norman nave (shown in our illustration) 
was erected during the period of the early Norman style ; it was vaulted 
by the Gothic builders. 

GENERAL NOTE. Chichester Cathedral has a rare feature, so far as England is 
concerned, in its detached bell-tower or campanile ; the aisles are flanked 
by chapels, giving the effect of double aisles, also unusual in England. 
The campanile and the chapels are, however, Gothic additions. Two 
very interesting specimens of Saxon sculpture are preserved in this 

S. B. Solas & Co. 



HISTORICAL NOTE. Moyses' Hall dates from the twelfth century. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. This is one of the somewhat rare remaining specimens 
in England of Norman domestic architecture. 

GENERAL NOTE. Moyses' Hall is said to have been built for a wealthy Jew, or as 
a Jewish synagogue ; it is often called the ' Jews' House." It served for a 
long time as a police-station, but it is now used as a museum. 


//. /. Jarmait. 




HISTORICAL NOTE. This church probably dates from the twelfth century. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. The round tower, nave walls, and doorway are Norman 
work ; the rest of the church is for the most part fifteenth-century work. 

GENERAL NOTE. In Norfolk and Suffolk there are many churches with round 
towers built of flint. These round towers have been the subject of much 
controversy with regard to the date of their erection, and at one time it 
was supposed that they owed their origin to the Danes ; now, however, it 
is generally considered that they do not date further back than the Norman 
period, and that some of them belong to the early Gothic architectural 
epoch. Square towers built of flints would have to be considerably 
strengthened at the angles, and, to avoid the necessity of so doing, the 
towers were given a circular form. These round towers are usually very 
plain, and it is therefore difficult to fix the date of their construction. 


Smith's Suitall, Ifswiclt 





HISTORICAL NOTE. The present cathedral was begun in 1083, and the work 
was carried on in the Norman and transitional Norman styles till about 
1170. The Gothic builders added the Galilee porch about 1200, extended 
the east end by substituting a presbytery for the apse about 1235, built a 
large lady chapel during the years 1321 to 1349, and about the same time 
rebuilt the choir and replaced the fallen central tower by the beautiful 
octagonal central tower. The Gothic builders continued to make 
alterations in connection with the windows and roofs, and added a story 
to the west tower. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. There are very few traces of the early Norman work, 
the greater part of the existing Norman work being in the late and 
transitional Norman styles. 

GENERAL NOTE. The roof of the Norman nave is ornamented with modern 

II 2 



HISTORICAL NOTE. The present cathedral was built between 1096 and 1145. 
The Gothic builders subsequently rebuilt the choir clerestory, enlarged 
the windows and added to their number, constructed the spire, and vaulted 
the building throughout. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. The original plan of Norwich Cathedral has been so 
little altered that here we have a perfect example of a purely Norman 
design. The cathedral has a remarkably long and narrow nave, which is 
loftier than most Norman naves, transepts, and a choir with apsidal 
chapels. The whole of this beautiful building makes a very strong appeal 
to our sense of proportion. 

GENERAL NOTE. Like many of our English cathedrals, Norwich Cathedral gains 
so much artistically fiom its situation. It is approached through some 
beautiful old gateways, and is set in a 'Close' amidst lawns and trees; 
near by flows the River Yare, and one approach leads up from a quaintly 
picturesque old ferry. 

S. B. Bolas & Co. 




HISTORICAL NOTE. The present cathedral was designed by Abbot John de 
Seez, and erected between 1117 and 1190. Additions and alterations 
were subsequently made by the Gothic builders. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. This is to a large extent a Norman cathedral. The 
thirteenth-century west front, however, is one of the finest specimens of a 
Gothic western facade, and the choir is enclosed in a fifteenth-century 
Gothic chapel with fan vaulting. 

GENERAL NOTE.- The beautiful wooden ceiling to the nave is probably 'the 
original twelfth-century one built by the Normans. 




HISTORICAL NOTE. The Saxons founded a monastery at Tewkesbury, but their 
abbey was entirely rebuilt about the beginning of the reign of William 
Rufus, from which period dates the present abbey church, which was con- 
secrated in 1123. Many alterations and additions were made by the 
Gothic builders, but much of the old Norman work still remains. The 
church was extensively restored between 1875 and 1879. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. The tower of Tewkesbury Abbey Church (shown in our 
illustration) is one of the finest specimens of Norman towers in existence. 
It is for the most part constructed of Caen stone. Its height from the 
ground to the battlements is 132 feet. The embattled parapet and 
pinnacles were added in the seventeenth century. 

GENERAL NOTE. The monastery at Tewkesbury was dissolved in 1539. 
Henry VIII. resolved to demolish the church, together with other parts of 
the abbey, but as the result of a petition the church was spared, and pur- 
chased by ' the bailiff, burgesses, and commonalty of the borough and town 
of Tewkesbury.' 

8 9 

F. FI-///I & Cc. 


9 o 



HISTORICAL NOTE. This church was founded in 1123, and the work of building 
was carried on in the Norman and transitional Norman styles till about 
1174. The Gothic builders added a nave and a lady chapel, and re- 
modelled the east end by pulling down part of the apse and making a 
square termination. The tower was erected in 1628, but alterations 
were made to it nearly two centuries later. The church was thoroughly 
restored between 1864 and 1893. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. A greater part of the existing church is in the Normsn 
style, and much of the original Norman work remains, but the apse was 
rebuilt last century on the model of the old Norman one. 

GENERAL NOTE. St. Bartholomew's Hospital and the church of St. Bartholomew 
the Great were both founded by Rahere, Henry I.'s minstrel, as a thank- 
offering for recovery from a serious illness. Rahere made a pilgrimage to 
Rome, and whilst there he was attacked by malarial fever ; during his 
illness he made a vow that if he recovered he would found a hospital in 
London. Tradition has it that, after he had registered this vow, St. 
Bartholomew appeared to him in a vision, and bade him build a church at 
Smithfield. Rahere recovered, and on his return to England he founded 
both the Hospital and the Augustinian Priory of St. Bartholomew. The 
monastery was dissolved by Henry VIII., and the nave of the church was 
demolished, with the exception of one bay ; the remainder of the church 
was ceded to the parishioners. 

12 2 



HISTORICAL NOTE. Romsey Abbey Church originally belonged to a nunnery 
which was founded in 907 ; the present church dates for the most part 
from the twelfth century. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. This is a cruciform church with a central tower, and 
the greater part of the massive edifice is built in the pure Norman style. 
Some of the apses are semicircular and some of the arches are of the 
stilted horseshoe variety. 

GENERAL NOTE. The Romsey pageant was arranged this year (1907) to cele- 
brate the Abbey's thousandth anniversary. 





HISTORICAL NOTE. The abbey church of Malmesbury was built towards 
the close of the first half of the twelfth century. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. This was one of the earliest Norman buildings in which masonry was used, but the church exhibits such interesting 
features of a progressive character that there is considerable difference of 
opinion as to the exact date of parts of the work. It is one of the earliest 
En jlish buildings in which the pointed arch occurs, and whilst some 
authorities maintain that the particular examples here date from about 
1140, others hold that they were not constructed till the work of b lilding 
had extended into the second half of the twelfth century. A similar 
difference of opinion exists as to which half of the twelfth centuiy belong 
the ribbed vaults of the church. 

GliNFRAL NOTE. Writing of Roger, Bishop of Salisbury, who built this abbey, 
William of Malmes v ,ury, librarian of Malmesbury Monastery (who lived 
from about 1095 to 1143), says : 'He was a prelate of great mind, and 
spared no expense towards completing his designs, especially in buildings ; 
which may be seen in other places, but more particularly at Salisbury and 
at Malmesbury, for there he erected extensive edifices at vast cost, and with 
surpassing beauty, the courses of stone being so correctly laid that the 
joint deceives the eye, and leads it to imagine that the whole wall is 
composed of a single block.' 




HISTORICAL NOTE. The present cathedral was begun in 1079. The choir was 
decorated and the nave built during the first half of the twelfth century. 
The lady chapel and central tower are Gothic, the former dating from 
about 1220 and the latter from about the end of the thirteenth century. 
Extensive alterations and restorations have been carried out. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. The nave (shown in our illustration) affords an excel- 
lent example of rich Norman work of the late Norman style. 

GENERAL NOTE. Hereford Cathedral was much damaged during the Civil War. 




HISTORICAL NOTE. The present edifice was begun during the years 1108-1115, 
but there are remains of a much earlier Norman church. The choir was 
rebuilt in the thirteenth century, and the Gothic builders made other 
alterations and various additions. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. Southwell Cathedral has a Norman nave, Norman 
transepts, towers, and porch. The nave (shown in our illustration) dates 
from about 113010 1140, and comes within the period of the late Norman 
style. Much of the Norman work in this cathedral is very rich, and 
variations of the zigzag style of ornamentation give highly decorative 

GENERAL NOTE. Southwell Cathedral was originally a collegiate church, differ- 
ing only, in the main,, from a cathedral in having no Bishop ; the See of 
Southwell was only constituted as recently as 1884 

S. R. Solas & Co. 

I 3 -2 




HISTORICAL NOTE. Buildwas Abbey was founded in 1135. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. The ruins of the abbey church are extremely interest- 
ing from the architectural standpoint. The work is plain, and of an early 
Norman type, but pointed arches are used in conjunction with semicircular 
ones. The nave, to which there is no triforium, has pointed arches, whilst 
the clerestory above has round-headed arches. 

GENERAL NOTE. Buildwas Abbey Church is one of the earliest Norman build 
ings in which the pointed arch was used in England. The pointed arches 
here were constructed about 1135 to 1140. 





HISTORICAL NOTE. This cathedral is built on the site of a Saxon church 
belonging to the monastery of St. Frideswide. The present structure was 
begun about 1158, and the cathedral, then known as St. Frideswide 
Church, was consecrated in 1180. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. Christ Church Cathedral is a specimen of late Norman 
work which merges into the Early English Gothic style. The nave and 
choir are Norman ; the clerestory windows in the nave are pointed, and 
indicative of the transitional period 5 the chapter-house and lady chapel 
are Gothic (Early English). A somewhat unusual effect as can be seen 
from our illustration results from the springing of arches from half- 
capitals, a constructive method which enters into a general scheme for 
obtaining height by carrying up arches above the triforium. The choir 
has an early sixteenth-century vaulted ceiling of the beautiful design 
known as ' fan tracery/ The east end was restored, in accordance with the 
original design, by Sir Gilbert Scott in 1871. 

GENERAL NOTE. Henry VIII. obtained possession of St. Frideswide's Priory and 
presented it to Cardinal Wolsey, who, under the stimulus of the Revivi.1 
of Learning, determined to found a College. The foundation-stone of 
Wolsey's College, adjoining St. Frideswide's Church, was laid in 1525, but, 
owing to his fall from power a few years later, Henry VIII. confiscated his 
property, and Cardinal College became King Henry VIII/s College. 
In 1546 Henry VIII., who had created the bishopric of Oxford, united the 
See and the College, and St. Frideswide became the ' Cathedral Church 
of Christ in Oxford.' 


Photochrom Co., Ltd. 




HISTORICAL NOTE. This is a twelfth -century church, belonging to the period of 
rich Norman work. It has recently been restored. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. This church is generally considered to be one of the 
gems of the style. It has a magnificent chancel arch, with ornamental 
mouldings, rich arcading, and a very fine circular window. 

GENERAL NOTE. Of the remaining specimens of Norman round windows in 
England, the Catherine-wheel window at Barfreston is a remarkably fine 
example ; it has shafts radiating from the centre to the circumference like 
the spokes of a wheel. There is an early Gothic round window in 
Peterborough Cathedral which is very similar in pattern to the Norman 
one at Barfieston. 





HISTORICAL NOTE. The present cathedral was begun by Gundulph, Bishop of 
Rochester, about 1080, and dedicated early in the twelfth century. The 
nave was completed about 1130, the west front erected in the middle of 
the twelfth century, and the choir, transepts, and eastern part of the nave 
were rebuilt by the Gothic builders at the end of the twelfth century and 
during the thirteenth century. The Gothic builders also remodelled the 
clerestory. The central tower is modern. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. Very little of the early Norman work of Gundulph's 
days is left ; specimens exist in the crypt and nave. The old nave was 
completed, and for the most part remodelled, in the days when the later 
Norman style was developing. The cathedral affords interesting 
opportunities for studying the progressive nature of Norman work, and 
also for comparing it with early Gothic work, for the choir and transepts 
rank among the best specimens of Early English Gothic 

GENERAL NOTE. The west doorway (shown in our illustration) is one of the 
finest specimens of the many beautiful doorways designed and constructed 
by the later Norman builders. 


S. B. Kolas & Co. 





HISTORICAL NOTE. This church dates from about 1135 to 1160. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. The nave, west front, and tower are Norman work ; 
one bay of the chancel is of later date. The style is characteristic of late, 
richly decorated, Norman architecture. The chancel arch is a particu- 
larly beautiful specimen amongst the many rich chancel arches of the 
period ; the vaulting ribs have ornamental mouldings, and the doorways 
are magnificent examples, particularly the west doorway, with its zigzag, 
beak-head, and medallion mouldings. 

GENERAL NOTE. The west front (shown in our illustration) is one of the richest 
specimens of Norman work in this country. 


H. W. Taunt Sr Co. 




HISTOR'CAL NOTE. The priory was founded by William de Warrenne. The 
priory church was commenced in 1135 and finished about 1148. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. The ruins are partly Norman work, dating from the 
end of the eleventh century, partly late Norman, and partly Gothic. The 
church is one of the finest specimens of rich Norman work. The magnifi- 
cent west front was originally flanked by two towers ; one has now almost 
completely disappeared, the other affords an interesting example of transi- 
tional Norman work. 

GENERAL NOTE. Castle Acre Abbey was a priory belonging to the monks of the 
Cluniac Order, which was founded in 909, and had its headquarters at the 
famous Abbey of Cluny. 





HISTORICAL NOTE. This cathedral was originally the church of an Augustinian 
monastery which was founded in 1 142. The lady chapel dates from the 
thirteenth century, but the eastern part of the church (choir and transepts) 
was, for the most part, rebuilt in the fourteenth century. The central 
tower dates from the fifteenth century, and the nave is modern. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. Amongst the remaining portions of the original 
Norman work in this cathedral, the chapter-house (shown in our illustra- 
tion) is the most perfect and complete. It dates from 1 1 55 to 1 1 70, and, with 
its decorated vaulting ribs and rich arcading, is a beautiful example of late 
Norman ornamental work ; in plan it is oblong, but originally it was. 
nearly twice its present length. 

GENERAL NOTE. The Augustinian monastery at Bristol was dissolved in 1538 ^ 
in 1542 the church became a cathedral, but in 183^ the Sees of Bristol and 
Gloucester were united. Bristol again became an independent See in 

S. B. Kolas Co. 



HISTORICAL NOTE. This church was. begun about 1171, and completed towards 
the end of the thirteenth century. It has lately been restored. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. St. Cross is a famous specimen of late and transi- 
tional Norman work ; it has round, intersecting, and pointed arches, with 
characteristic Norman mouldings. 

GENERAL NOTE. This church was built in connection with the Hospital cf 
St. Cross, \vhich was founded in 1136 by Bishop Henri de Blois to provide 
a home for thirteen poor and aged men, and supply a daily meal to one 
hundred others, bt. Cross is situated about one mile from Winchester. 





HISTORICAL NOTE. The present cathedral was founded about 1093, and between 
this date and 1140 the choir, transepts, nave, and chapter-house were com- 
pleted ; the Galilee or Lady Chapel dates from about 1175. The Gothic 
builders remodelled the east end, replacing the apse with the Chapel of the 
Nine Altars (1242 to 1280), and added the western and central towers, the 
former at the beginning ot the thirteenth century and the central tower 
about 1470. The chapter-house was mutilated by Wyatt in carrying out 
his ' restoration ' scheme in 1778 to 1800, but it was subsequently restored 
in harmony with the original design. The cathedral has been much 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. This is generally considered to be the finest Norman 
cathedral in England. The edifice was vaulted, it is thought, between 
1093 and 1133. Much of the original vaulting remains, and forms an 
interesting link in the history of architecture. The original high, oblong, 
ribbed vaults are thought to be the earliest examples of their kind in England, 
possibly in Europe. The Galilee (shown in our illustration) is one of the 
richest specimens of transitional Norman work. Norman in execution, 
the graceful and elegant design seems to be Gothic in inspiration, although 
Saracenic influence might well have been at work here, for originally the 
arches were carried by slender coupled shafts, each pair under one abacus, a 
style much used by the Saracens. Other shafts were added later to give 
more strength to the columns. 

GENERAL NOTE. At the beginning of the Conquest the Earldom of North- 
umberland was united to the Bishopric of Durham, and the Earl-Bishops, 
invested with sovereign powers, became well-nigh independent rulers of the 
Palatinate of Durham. Their seat as feudal lords was Durham Castle, 
close by the cathedral, and their special civil duty, in return for which they 
were given so much administrative power, was to defend the Scottisli 
borderland. The Bishops of Durham were deprived of most of their 
sovereign power by Henry VIII. 




HISTORICAL NOTE. The round portion of the Temple Church was dedicated in 
11855 tne eastern portion is thirteenth-century Gothic. It was restored 
about the middle of the nineteenth century. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. The round portion of this church is built in the 
transitional Norman style, on the plan of the Church of the Holy 
Sepulchre at Jerusalem. Within, it has pointed arches springing from 
clustered columns and an arcade of intersecting round arches , the 
clerestory windows have semicircular heads. There is a remarkably fine 
porch at the entrance. 

GENERAL NOTE. The Knights Templars, who built the round portion of the 
Temple Church, were a military Order of monks, founded in 1118 to 
defend the Temple at Jerusalem and to protect the pilgrims who visited it. 
They had their London headquarters in Holborn, but they removed to the 
banks of the Thames in 1184. The Order was suppressed in 1313, and 
soon after part of the Templars' property was leased to doctors and 
students of law, who have ever since retained possession. 

Valentine & icms, Ltd. 




HISTORICAL NOTE. Glastonbury Abbey is thought to have been originally 
founded in the sixth century. A monastery was founded at Glastonbury 
in the eighth century by King Ina, and St. Dunstan built a stone church 
here in the tenth century. The earlier churches were replaced by one 
larger one in the twelfth century, but this was destroyed by fire, and 
Henry II. began to rebuild a still larger church, which was finished about 
the end of the thirteenth century. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. The most interesting of the ruins are those of the 
Chapel of St. Joseph (shown in our illustration). This chapel an 
exceedingly rich specimen of the transitional Norman style was probably 
erected during the reigns of Henry II. and Richard I. 

GENERAL NOTE. The ruins of this famous abbey and the adjoining estate were 
sold this year (1907) to a Nottingham merchant for 30,000. The pur- 
chaser signified his willingness to transfer the property to the Church of 
England at the purchase price. He entered into an arrangement with the 
Bishop of Bath and Wells, who has made himself responsible for the ulti- 
mate repayment of the purchase-money and the expenses of the sale, 
together with reasonable interest on the outlay. Part of the required 
amount has already been guaranteed by private subscriptions, whilst a 
public appeal on behalf of the Church has been made for the balance. 


f. Fiith & Co 





HISTORICAL NOTE. This bridge was built by George of Antioch, High Admiral 
to Count Roger, the Norman conqueror of Sicily, and to his son, 
King Roger II.; it was constructed in 1113, during the reign of 
Roger II. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. This old Norman bridge has pointed arches ; it is one 
of the earliest specimens of architecture in which the Western builders used 
this form of arch. 

GENERAL NOTE. The Ponte dell' Ammiraglio now spans a dry river-bed ; in 
the days of the Normans the waters of the River Oreto flowed beneath it, 
but the course of that .iver has been changed 

I2 3 

1 6 2 



HISTORICAL NOTE. This cathedral was founded by King Roger II. early in the 
twelfth century. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. The plan is a Latin cross, with nave, aisles, long tran- 
septs, and a raised east end terminating in three apses, the central one of 
which is as high as the transepts. The exterior of the central apse is 
ornamented with slender, graceful shafts, in pairs, which support the 
pointed arches of a cornice ; the low apses on either side have similar 
coupled shafts, which support a series of pointed arches, above which is a 
cornice with round arches supported by grotesquely carved Norman 
corbels. The west front (shown in our illustration) is one of the finest of 
its period in Sicily ; the Norman towers have four stories ; the lower arcading 
of characteristic intersecting arches over the portico contrasts artis ically 
with the simple arches of the upper arcade, and the pointed window in 
the centre of the lower arcade is decorated with the chevron and billet 
ornaments. The portico itself was restored in the fifteenth century, but 
under its round arch in the centre is the original west door, which is a 
very fine specimen of Norman work, with chevron, medallion, and other 
ornamental mouldings. 

GENERAL NOTE. The mosaics in this cathedral date from 1145 ; executed on a 
gold ground, they cover a large proportion of the internal surface of the 
walls; they were completed in 1148, and as there lias scarcely been any 
need to restore them, the harmonious blending of their rich colours helps 
to make them the most perfect Sicilian examples of this mode of decora- 
tion. In the central apse is one of Sicily's three vast mosaic pictures of 






HISTORICAL NOTE. This chapel in the Royal Palace was founded by King 
Roger II. It was commenced in 1129, the work was well advanced hy 
1132, and it was finished and consecrated during Roger's lifetime ; but his 
successors continued to adorn it, an.l they un le.'took various restorations. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. The Cappella Palatina has a mve, aisles, raised choir, 
and a triple apse ; the wooden ceiling of the nave is executed in the 
Moorish honeycomb style, and over the choir rises a dome. The walls 
are faced with white marble panels between mosaic ^ands for a short dis- 
tance from the ground, after which they are covered with mosaics on a 
gold ground, as are also the stilted arches which spring from granite and 
marble columns, and the ceilings are all gilded and painted. The chapel 
is small, but it is an architectural gem. 

GENERAL NOTE. In the central apse is one of the three colossal mosaic pictures 
of Christ which are famous among Sicily's many world-famous art 
treasures ; the other two of a similar type are in the cathedrals of Cefalu 
and Monreale. The Royal Palace which enshrines the Cappella Palatina 
is of Saracenic origin ; it was here that the Norman Kings of Sicily held 
their Court, which was a brilliant centre of art and learning. In this 
palace there is still preserved a peifect twelfth-century specimen of a 
Sicilian-Norman domestic apartment. Above the roof of the palace rises 
a Norman tower, the oldest part of the present structure. 

I2 7 

Ed. Brogi. 




HISTORICAL NOTE. This church was built by King Roger about 1132, on the 
site of a seventh century monastery. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. S. Giovanni degli Eremiti is one of the earliest speci- 
mens of Arabo-Norman architecture. It is built in the form of a T w 'th 
three apses, and it is surmounted by five domes, which give it a very 
Oriental appearance. 

GENERAL NOTE. The cloisters (shown in our illustration) are on the north-west 
side of the church ; they are among the most beautiful specimens of the 
Arabo-Norman style, and from their court we look around on one of the 
most picturesque sights in Palermo. 


1 3 o 



HISTORICAL NOTE. S. Maria dell' Ammiraglio, otherwise known as the Church 
of La Martorana, dates from 1143. It was built by George of Antioch. 
It was subsequently united to an adjoining convent founded by Godfrey 
de Martorana ; hence its more generally used name, indicating a possession 
of the Martorana nuns. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. In its original form the church was square in plan, with 
three apses and a central dome $ the nuns had a choir added at the expense 
of destroying the mosaics on the waU which had to be broken through 
for the purpose of enlarging the building ; other inharmonious additions 
and alterations, involving a similar sacrifice, were subsequently made. The 
church in its original state must have been nearly as perfect a gem as the 
Cappella Palatina. The two upper stories of the beautiful campanile, or 
bell-tower, were rebuilt during the fourteenth century. 

GENERAL NOTE. In spite of the wholesale destruction of mosaic work that has 
taken place in La Martorana. the church is still richly adorned with 
mosaics, some of which are very quaint ; in one of these 'pictures' George 
of Antioch lies prostrate before the Virgin, and the little pieces of glass 
are so pieced together that his back looks very much like that of a 
tortoise; another shows Christ crowning King Roger, who is quite 
dwarfed by the tall figure of the Saviour. After the great massacre known 
as the ' Sicilian Vespers,' the Parliament of Sicily met in this church, and 
here decided to offer the crown to Peter of Aragon ; here, too, representa- 
tives of the Church and State swore homage to their new Spanish ruler. 




HISTORICAL NOTE. It is thought that this palace was built by Arabic workmen 
for William I., the Norman King who reigned over Sicily from 1154.10 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. The oldest part of the present three-story building is 
a large room on the lower floor. This room has a Moorish honeycomb 
ceiling, and in an alcove of mosaic work in the wall facing the entrance 
is a beautiful fountain, 'active' as in the days when its cool waters added 
to the luxurious appointments of the palace. 

GENERAL NOTE. William I. of Sicily made La Zisa his 'country residence. 1 
It is situated about one mile beyond the I alazzo Reale. 


Ed. Brogi. 



HISTORICAL NOTE. This church was built by Offamilia, Archbishop of Palermo, 
in connection with a Cistercian monastery which he founded in 1173 ; the 
monastic buildings are in rains, but the church has recently been restored. 

ARCHITECTURAL NOTE. S. Spirito is a good specimen of Anglo-Norman archi 
lecture; here Arabic inspiration was subdued by Anglo-Norman feeling, 
and the art of the Saracen and Greek gave place to that of the Northman. 

GENERAL NOTE. S. Spirito is also called the 'Church of the Vespers, 1 for with- 
out its walls began the great massacre of the French known as the 
'Sicilian Vespers.' The Pope crowned Charles of Anjou King of Sicily 
in 1266, but the French rulers made themselves unpopular in the island ; 
the strong feeling against them ultimately burst forth in the full strength 
of its accumulated yearning for vengeance. It was Easter Monday of 
1282 ; in the open space around the church the holiday bedecked crowd 
were celebrating the festival, when suddenly the vesper bell of S. Spirito 
rang out the signal for the Sicilians to turn and rend every Frenchman on 
whom they could lay hands. As the news of the massacre spread, it stimu- 
lated every Sicilian to carry on the hand-to-hand fight ; ultimately nearly 
every Frenchman in the island was slaughtered, and the crown of Sicily 
passed to a Spanish line of Kings. 





HISTORICAL NOTE. A Benedictine monastery was founded at Monreale by 
William the Good, great-grandson of the Norman Conqueror Roger, in 
1 174, in which year the world-famous cathedral of Monreale was begun. 

ARCHITHCTURAL NOTE. The cathedral is in the rorm of a Latin cross, with 
nave, aisles, and three apses. On the exterior the east end is ornamented 
with intersecting arches of black lava ; in the west wall is a beautiful 
Arabo-Norman doorway with exquisite bronze doors, dating from 1186, 
the work of Bonanno da Pisa. The cloister (shown in our illustration) 
adjoins the cathedral ; the court, dating from 1200, is 169 feet square, 
and it is surrounded by 200 columns spanned by pointed arches. Some of 
the shafts of the columns are plain, some richly sculptured, and others 
ornamented with vertical, spiral, and zigzag bands of mosaic work. The 
capitals are all richly carved, and the designs are in no two cases alike. 
The fountain is a beautiful specimen of Moorish work. Normans, 
Saracens, Greeks, and Lombards worked together in the building of this 
cloister, which is one of the finest examples of twelfth-century architecture. 

GENERAL NOTE. Monreale Cathedral is famous for its mosaics, which include 
one of Sicily's three great pictures of Christ. The cathedral has a most 
glorious situation on a hill overlooking the 'golden-shell ' plain of Palermo 
and the beautiful bay, with its lapis lazuli coloured waters, that rivals in 
splendour the beauteous Bay of Naples. 



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